NTSB Identification: SEA97LA063.
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Accident occurred Friday, February 21, 1997 in JORDAN VALLEY, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/1997
Aircraft: Maule M-5-180, registration: N5652W
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During a VFR flight over an overcast, the pilot decided to descend through what appeared to be a hole in the clouds. During the descent, the aircraft entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and began picking up ice. About two minutes after entering IMC, the aircraft broke out of the clouds with about one-half inch of clear ice on its exterior. Because the aircraft's flight characteristics were changed by the accumulation of ice, the pilot decided to land at the nearest airport. Because of the ice build-up, the pilot elected to fly final faster than normal, and the aircraft ultimately touched down long and fast. While trying to slow the aircraft during the landing roll, the pilot failed to maintain directional control, and the aircraft exited the runway and rolled through tall sagebrush.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: failure of the pilot to maintain directional control of the aircraft, while landing. Factors relating to the accident included: the pilot's improper inflight decision to attempt a descent through what appeared to be a hole in the clouds, his inadvertent flight into icing conditions in the clouds, airframe icing, and tall vegetation growing in the vicinity of the runway. Full narrative available
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