NTSB Identification: NYC96FA085.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 16, 1996 in GRANVILLE, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N8276Y
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The passenger reported that the flight was delayed a day due to weather, and that she was scheduled to attend a class at the destination the day of the accident. Prior to departure, icing advisories were issued to the pilot for his route of flight; temperatures aloft ranging from -6 to -8 degrees C. The pilot advised the passenger of icing conditions prior to departure, and reassured her they could deviate if those conditions were encountered. During the flight, in IMC at 9,000 feet, the pilot radioed that he had a partial loss of engine power, and requested vectors to the nearest airport. Columbus Approach initially provided a vector to an airport about 12.5 miles northeast, within gliding range. Approach also thought the airport would be VFR, and that the flight would be aided with a tailwind. The flight was then vectored to an airport about 17.5 miles southwest, which was IFR and had several pilot reports of icing conditions. Several minutes later Columbus Approach provided a vector back to the initial airport northeast, followed shortly thereafter by a vector to a third airport about 12.5 miles southeast. The airplane crashed about 6 miles from the third airport. Inspection of the spark plug electrodes revealed a condition consistent with a rich mixture. One half-inch-thick pieces of ice, matching the leading edges of the wings, were observed in the vicinity of the wreckage. The airplane was not approved for icing conditions. The ATC handbook stated that certain weather phenomenon may deserve weighted consideration when recommending an emergency airport; the pilot may elect to fly further to an airport with VFR conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's intentional flight into known icing conditions and his overconfidence in his ability, which led to a partial loss of engine power as a result of induction system ice. Also causal was ATC's excessive vectoring of the airplane in icing conditions, further deteriorating the airplane's performance, and thereby placing the airplane beyond gliding distance to a nearby airport. In addition, the pilot failed to maintain airspeed during the forced landing, which resulted in a stall. The icing conditions were a factor.

Full narrative available

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