NTSB Identification: FTW02LA101.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 24, 2002 in Lamar, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Grumman AA-5, registration: N9265L
Injuries: 2 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 obtained a weather briefing for an IFR flight. The briefer informed the pilot of IFR conditions along the route of flight and an airmet for icing conditions in the northern 1/3 of the state of Colorado; however, the route of flight was not within the airmet's boundaries. The pilot then filed an IFR flight plan. The flight departed and climbed to a cruising altitude of 9,000 feet. The pilot stated that the airplane was in IMC when he observed that the airplane's groundspeed was less than he expected, and that the outside air temperature was slightly below freezing. He contacted air traffic control (ATC), requested a descent to 7,000 feet, and initiated a descent. Rime ice began to accumulate on the airplane's windshield, wings, and vertical stabilizer. The flight continued and was 25-30 miles past the nearest airport when the pilot advised ATC that the airplane could not maintain altitude due to icing. ATC recommended that the pilot reverse course and divert to the airport. The pilot then turned back toward the airport. The pilot stated that the airplane remained in a shallow descent; however, he was able to maintain 80 mph airspeed. The flight broke out of the cloud layer at 4,500 feet. The pilot's outside view was obstructed by the ice covered windshield, except for a 6-inch radius semi-circle that was cleared by the airplane's windshield defroster. The flight continued toward the airport; however, it encountered rising terrain, and subsequently, the airplane impacted the ground.

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

the pilot's delay in taking immediate remedial action after the flight encountered icing conditions, which resulted in a collision with terrain. A contributing factor to the accident was the icing condition.

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