NTSB Identification: CHI98LA083.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 20, 1998 in LODI, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: NERSTROM-TAILWIND W-8, registration: N12038
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 said he was observing the airplane's shadow as he made a low pass over a snow covered frozen lake at 50 feet. He said he went under a cloud, lost his shadow, and encountered whiteout conditions. The pilot said he could not tell where the lake's surface was because he could no longer see his shadow. He pulled up to gain altitude, but the main landing gear contacted the ice, shearing them off. The wing struts overloaded and broke off on the subsequent bounce. Several publications on winter flying describe whiteout conditions. One book describes the pilots encounter as 'overcast whiteout.'

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

the pilot's failure to maintain a proper altitude due to the whiteout conditions. Factors associated with the accident were the low pass performed by the pilot and the visual illusion created by the whiteout conditions.

Full narrative available

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