NTSB Identification: LAX02FA041.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 05, 2001 in Prescott, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 182E, registration: N3049Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 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.

Witnesses observed the airplane's wings rock back and forth prior to the airplane stalling, entering a spin, and impacting terrain during the takeoff initial climb out. There was a post impact fire. The airplane was loaded with a pilot, three passengers, luggage, miscellaneous items, and fuel. A determination of the amount of fuel on board could not be made. If the airplane took off with full fuel, it would have been over gross weight with the center of gravity outside of the envelope (aft). With 30 gallons of fuel on board, the airplane would have been within the gross weight; however, it would still have been out of the center of gravity envelope (aft). The pilot and front seat passenger were fatally injured. The rear seat passengers survived. The rear seat passengers indicated that on the morning of the accident the airplane was turned so that the sun could melt the ice on the wings. They went to eat and when they returned, they noted a layer of 1/4- to 1/2-inch of ice still covering the airplane. The pilot and two passengers removed some of the ice from the wings and tail sections; however, the rear seat passengers reported that no ladders were used to remove the ice from the tops of the wings. The weather conditions during the preceding 24 hours were conducive for the formation of frost, snow, and ice on the lifting surfaces of the airplane. Numerous witnesses observed 1/4- to 1/2-inch of snow and ice on the surfaces of other airplanes parked at various spots on the airport the morning of the accident. Public deicing facilities were not available at the airport. Investigators noted no mechanical discrepancies during the engine inspection that would have precluded it from producing power, and no discrepancies were found with the airframe. Research has shown that that frost, snow, and ice accumulations on the leading edge or upper surface of the wing, no thicker or rougher than a piece of coarse sandpaper, can reduce lift by 30 percent and increase drag up to 40 percent. Larger accretions [of snow, ice, or frost] can reduce lift even more and can increase drag by 80 percent or more. Toxicology testing of the pilot's blood detected a prescription antidepressant at a level consistent with routine use and an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine at a level above that expected from a single dose. The pilot had not reported the use of these medications to the FAA."

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

the pilot's failure to adequately deice the airplane prior to takeoff, which resulted in the airplane's degraded aerodynamic and climb performance capability, failure to maintain an adequate airspeed, and a stall/spin. Contributing factors were the pilot's incorrect weight and balance computations, and his use of an impairing over-the-counter medication.

Full narrative available

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