NTSB Identification: CHI98LA034.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 11, 1997 in ULYSSES, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-235, registration: N9404W
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot encountered freezing rain during a night cross-country flight at 5,000 feet above mean sea level (msl). He said his windshield had iced up during the flight. According to the pilot, he began a descent to prepare for a landing as he neared his destination. During the descent, the pilot noted his altimeter did not move below 4,000 feet msl. The pilot continued the descent until colliding with the ground. He said the altimeter indication went to 3,000 feet msl when the airplane collided with the ground. The accident site's terrain elevation was about 3,000 feet msl. The pilot said he did not turn on the pitot heat during the flight. The altimeter static port was on the aft side of the pitot-tube. During an altimeter bench-check, the altimeter functioned normally except it indicated between 50 and 120 feet low at various altitudes. There was no indication of sticking or rough operation at any altitude tested. The pilot did not obtain a weather briefing before departing on the accident flight.

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

the pilot's continued flight into adverse weather conditions, his failure to activate the pitot heat system, and his failure to maintain clearance from the terrain. Factors associated with this accident were: the pilot did not obtain a preflight weather briefing, the adverse weather (icing) condition, and accumulation of ice on the windshield.

Full narrative available

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