On February 12, 2011, about 1400 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-161 single-engine airplane, N536PU, sustained substantial damage when it exited the runway and impacted snow and terrain during a precautionary landing on runway 14L (3,263 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) at the Crystal Airport (MIC), near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The pilot reported that the airplane had a rough running engine during climbout and circled around for the precautionary landing. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was on file for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight had departed from MIC about 1350.

The pilot reported that the airplane’s engine started to run rough upon takeoff and that he had trouble gaining altitude. He performed the checklist for engine power loss and his switching fuel tanks did not make a difference in the engine roughness. He stated that he reduced the throttle “slightly” and the engine increased its power. The engine began to run rough again and he called the tower for a landing clearance. He was given a clearance and performed a “standard landing procedure.” After landing the airplane veered to the left and the main landing gear impacted a snowbank and snow. The airplane impacted a runway light. The right wing sustained substantial damage on impact with the snowbank.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined and took pictures of the wreckage. The examination and review of the pictures did not reveal any airframe preimpact anomalies. According to the operator, the accident engine was torn down and no anomalies were detected.

At 1253, the recorded weather at MIC was: Wind 190 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition scattered 5,500 feet, overcast 7,500 feet; temperature 2 degrees C; dew point -3 degrees C; altimeter 29.80 inches of mercury.

The airport's temperature and dew point were plotted on the carburetor icing chart listed in Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35. Their intersection fell in the “serious icing (cruise power)” range.

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