On January 20, 1998, at 0725, central standard time (cst), a Cessna 208B, N738FX, operated by a commercial pilot, as Federal Express flight 8805, sustained substantial damage when on landing at Grand Island Airport, Nebraska, the airplane impacted hard on the runway and subsequently slid off the left side, approximately 1,500 feet down. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted as on demand domestic air cargo service under 14 CFR Part 135. An IFR flight plan was on file. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated at Omaha, Nebraska, at 0640 cst, and was en route to Grand Island, Nebraska.

In his written statement, the pilot said that while in cruise flight between Omaha and Grand Island, he began to pick up moderate ice on the airplane at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The pilot asked Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), if he could be assigned a higher altitude to get out of the icing conditions. Minneapolis ARTCC approved his request. The pilot said that the airplane reached an altitude of 6,700 feet msl, and would not climb any higher. He reported this to Minneapolis ARTCC, and requested the VOR/DME approach for runway 31 at Grand Island. The pilot maintained 6,500 feet msl until he was approximately 14 miles from the airport, at which time he turned onto the final approach course. The pilot maintained an airspeed between 125 and 140 knots on the approach. The airplane broke out of the overcast ceiling at 2,250 feet msl. When the airplane was over the runway, the pilot reduced the throttle from cruise power. The airplane began to drop. The pilot said that he added power, but it did not stop the sink rate. The airplane touched down hard on the runway. The pilot said that following touchdown, he had no braking capability. The pilot used full right rudder and engine power to stay on the runway. The airplane slowly veered to the left, departed the runway, and turned around 180 degrees in a field, before coming to a stop.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the wreckage, found the airplane, upright in the infield, between runways 31 and 35, approximately 1,500 feet from the approach end of runway 31. The airplane's nose gear strut was bent to the left. The left main landing gear was bent aft and to the left. The left engine mounts and firewall were bent upward. The left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator showed heavy skin buckling. The left propeller showed no damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed. No anomalies with the engine, engine controls, or other airplane systems were found.

The FAA inspector observed approximately 1 and 1/2 inches of clear ice adhering to the leading edges of the wings and empennage.

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