SEA97LA063
SEA97LA063

On February 21, 1997, approximately 1530 Pacific standard time, the pilot of a Maule M-5-180, N5652W, lost control of his aircraft during the landing roll at Rome State Airport, near Jordan Valley, Oregon. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured, but the aircraft sustained substantial damage to the wing structure. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, which departed Marysville, California about five hours earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. The aircraft was on a VFR flight plan, and there was no report of an ELT activation.

According to the pilot, while en route from Marysville, California to Boise, Idaho, he elected to descend through a break in the overcast. While attempting to descend through what appeared to be a hole in the clouds, he inadvertently entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). He continued an IMC descent for about two minutes, during which time about one-half inch of clear ice accumulated on the aircraft's exterior. After breaking out of the clouds, the pilot noticed that it took considerable left aileron to keep the aircraft level, and that it was "sluggish" in performance. Because of the unusual flight characteristics, and because the ice was not melting off, he proceeded directly to Rome State Airport in order to get the aircraft on the ground. He said that the winds were down the runway at five knots, but because the aircraft had ice on it, he came in fast and landed long. During the landing roll, while trying to slow the aircraft, the pilot failed to maintain directional control, and the aircraft departed the runway and ran through some tall sagebrush. The pilot said that there had been no mechanical malfunction or unusual weather condition at the airport, but that "It just got away from me."

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