SEA95LA080
SEA95LA080

On April 16, 1995, approximately 2230 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Cessna 172L, N7011Q, impacted the terrain during a forced landing near Wheatland, Wyoming. The commercial pilot and his wife received minor injuries, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The personal pleasure flight, which departed Montrose County Airport, Montrose, Colorado, approximately 1830, was being operated in instrument meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. The pilot was operating on an IFR flight plan. The ELT actuated and assisted in the location of the crash site.

According to Denver Center personnel, the pilot reported he had entered icing conditions and was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot stated that he encountered icing conditions about two- thirds into his flight. He advised Denver Center the he was unable to maintain altitude and that he was losing about 200-300 feet per minute and he needed the closest possible airport. Center turned the aircraft three or four times to different destination airports, but each time, after a few minutes on course, advised the pilot that he would be unable to make it to the destination. Center then turned the aircraft toward Wheatland airport and advised that the runway lights had been turned on. The pilot stated that shortly after that he lost communications with Center. He stated that with zero visibility the right main landing gear struck the ground. He then closed the throttle and tried to reduce speed. He stated that due to the ice on the left wing, he was unable to keep the left wing up and the left wing tip struck the ground. The aircraft then nosed over.

The pilot and his wife were located and rescued about 0645 the following morning.

During his weather briefing, the pilot had been advised of occasional moderate rime icing in clouds and precipitation from freezing level to 12,000 feet along his route of flight.

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