CHI05CA052
CHI05CA052

On January 12, 2005, at 0900 central standard time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N427KP, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing in a field near the Cumberland Municipal Airport (UBE), Cumberland, Michigan. The private pilot received minor injuries, and the passenger was not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight departed Maple Lake, Minnesota, at 0730 en route to Houghton, Michigan. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed and an instrument flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that he had received a weather briefing at 0615. There was an AIRMET for icing and IMC along the route of flight. The pilot reported, "It seemed that there were only a few reports of light icing and layers between the clouds with no moisture." Thirty minutes after departure, the pilot noticed light mixed icing on the wings. The intended cruising altitude was 11,000 feet, but the airplane's airspeed had dropped to 130 knots and it was unable to maintain the climb. The airspeed continued to drop to 120 knots, and the pilot requested to divert to a nearby airport with an instrument approach.

Initially, he tried to divert to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but it became apparent to the pilot that he needed a closer airport. The pilot executed the GPS Runway 27 approach to UBE. The pilot reported that he flew the approach at 3,000 feet at 120 knots until he reached the final approach fix. He then lowered the landing gear and selected 10 degrees of flaps. When the airplane was about 500 feet above ground level (agl) it began to buffet, and the pilot reported that he began to lose directional control. The pilot chose to land in a field that was about 100 yards to the south of runway 27, rather that trying to turn to the runway. The stall warning horn sounded just before ground impact. The landing gear was sheared off and the propeller struck the ground. The pilot and passenger evacuated the airplane after it came to a stop.

Witnesses on the ground reported there was a build up of ice on the airplane. One witness reported, "I did observe on the aircraft itself large amounts of ice on the antennas, on the wings and other portions of the airplane."

The airplane was equipped with a placard in full view of the pilot that stated, "THIS AIRCRAFT APPROVED FOR V.F.R., I.F.R., DAY AND NIGHT NON-ICING FLIGHT WHEN EQUIPPED IN ACCORDANCE WITH FAR 91 AND FAR 135."



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