Icing Eyed in Fatal Turboprop Crash

 - December 22, 2011, 4:15 PM

As the investigation continues into Tuesday’s fatal crash of a Daher-Socata TBM700 in New Jersey, more details of the flight’s final moments are emerging. According to the NTSB, the pilot reported that he was “picking up ice” just before the single-engine turboprop crashed into the treed median of I-287 near Morristown, killing all five on board. Audio recordings of the conversations between the pilot and ATC show he was informed of the possibility of icing conditions. “We’ll let you know what happens when we get in there, if we could go straight through it shouldn’t be a problem for us,” he is heard telling a controller. The instrument-rated pilot then asked for a clarification of the icing situation and was informed that other aircraft had reported encountering light to severe icing in the vicinity. “The pilot confirmed that he was picking up ice,” said NTSB investigator-in-charge Ralph Hicks at a press conference yesterday near the crash site. “How much he was picking up we don’t know, and we may never know.” The TBM700 was equipped with de-icing boots but it is unclear whether they were operating at the time of the crash. Hicks said nonvolatile memory chips from some of the aircraft’s equipment might provide some clues as to what brought the aircraft down. The wreckage is being taken to a facility in Delaware, where it will be laid out and examined by investigators.