Cessna 441 Conquest, Vestavia Hills, Ala., Dec. 10, 2003–On an IFR flight from Birmingham, Ala., to Venice, Fla., Conquest N441W reached 6,300 feet in its climb to 10,000 feet when it began to lose altitude and deviate from course. Declaring a Mayday, the pilot reported the airplane was in a spin. Several witnesses near the accident site reported seeing the airplane descend from the clouds in a nose-down spiral.
The NTSB said the probable cause was the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during climb in icing conditions, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin and subsequent uncontrolled descent and crash. A factor was theaccumulation of airframe ice.
Two current airmets warned of turbulence, wind shear and occasional icing. Two pilots reported “moderate rime” icing between 5,000 and 6,000 feet. The accident airplane showed no evidence of airframe or engine malfunction.
The Conquest was operated by Warrington Development. According to witnesses, the 4,350-hour ATP pilot had been “on the computers all morning,” checking the weather, and had been asking arriving pilots about the weather.
When the airplane began to deviate from course, the pilot told the controller, “Mayday mayday mayday four one whiskey I’m coming out of the sky.” He then said, “(unintelligible) severe buf (unintelligible),” then, “We’re in a spin.” No further radio contact was received. A witness stated the airplane’s descent angle was “straight down.”
The ATP pilot had 424 hours in the 441, but no pilot-in-command time in the last 12 months. He had taken a FlightSafety International proficiency check the previous November, and “had demonstrated competence to serve as pilot in command of CE-441.”
Diphenhydramine and pseudoephedrine were found in the pilot’s body.