Preliminary Report: Ice accumulation obscures pilot's vision

 - March 12, 2007, 9:19 AM

Cessna 551 Citation II, Ainsworth, Neb., Jan. 1, 2005–Citation N35403 crashed while attempting to land at Ainsworth Municipal Airport in IMC. The instrument-rated private pilot and five passengers were not seriously injured but the Citation was substantially damaged.

After the airplane was cleared for the GPS Runway 17 approach, it started to accumulate ice at around 4,000 feet msl. The pilot descended out of IMC at between 300 and 400 feet agl. The cockpit windows were obscured by ice and the pilot decided to land instead of executing the published missed-approach procedure. The minimum descent altitude is 500 feet agl for an airplane with a lateral-navigation-only GPS.

A witness said he didn’t notice the wheels down. The airplane touched down 439 feet short of the runway, hit an access road, became airborne and touched down again. It then slid about 700 feet and came to rest.