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N207TA accident description

Maine map... Maine list
Crash location 44.048333°N, 70.283333°W
Nearest city Lewiston, ME
44.100351°N, 70.214776°W
4.9 miles away
Tail number N207TA
Accident date 20 Dec 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 208B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 20, 2001, about 2000 eastern standard time, a Cessna 208B, N207TA, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff from the Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport (LEW), Lewiston, Maine. Teleford Aviation, Inc., doing business as United Parcel Service, operated the airplane. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time, for the flight destined for Manchester Airport (MHT), Manchester, New Hampshire. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the cargo flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 135.

According to the pilot, she arrived at the airport at 1915, and performed a preflight inspection of the airplane. Between 1928 and 1935, she loaded the airplane with cargo, then proceeded to remove snow from it by using a ladder and broom. The airplane was re-examined, and found free of any additional contamination. At 1955, the airplane taxied to the run-up area for a before takeoff check. All operational checks were normal and in accordance with limitations. At 1958, the pilot obtained her departure clearance, and was released for departure at 2000. At that time a second contamination check was conducted before she taxied slowly onto the runway due to unplowed conditions.

Once on the runway, the pilot back-taxied the full length of runway 04 and used a 10-degree flap setting for departure. The brakes were held, and the throttle was advanced to maximum takeoff limits for final checks. The pilot began the takeoff roll and rotated the airplane when it reached 90 knots. The main wheels lifted off momentarily, then settled back onto the runway.

The takeoff was aborted, the power lever was placed in the Beta/Reverse range, and the brakes were applied. The airplane slowed, but continued its slide down the center of the runway. The pilot secured the engine before the airplane overran the departure end of the runway. Once off the runway, right rudder was applied to avoid the localizer antenna. The airplane veered to the right and the left main tire caught anchor cables attached to the antenna. The airplane pivoted to the left, around the backside of the antenna, and came to rest.

During a subsequent telephone interview, the pilot added that snow had fallen throughout the preflight inspection, loading, taxi, and takeoff. After she cleaned the snow from the airplane, the surfaces were clear, but remained wet as the snow continued to fall. Before takeoff, the procedure she used was to visually check the leading edges, the cowl, the windscreen, and the struts, which were all clear of contamination. The second contamination check was performed from the cockpit, just prior to taking the runway. Both the preflight and the before-takeoff checks were completed per the Cessna manual.

There was about three-quarters of an inch of snow on the runway, and the company operations manual allowed an inch. When the pilot was asked if the runway had been plowed at any time prior to her departure, she answered that it had not been, and that, in fact, it was done after she went back to the terminal. According to the Auburn Fire Department, the runway had not been plowed when they arrived on scene at 2018.

The pilot stated that she had flown for Teleford Aviation for about 1 year, and that this was her second winter season with the company. She recently completed a winter operations class and had received information from Cessna on the Caravan, as well as additional winter operations knowledge.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. Her most recent second-class medical certificate was issued February 5, 2001. The pilot reported that she had about 1,700 hours of flight experience, 700 hours of which were in the Caravan.

The pilot reported there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

The weather reported at the airport at the time of the accident included a broken ceiling at 100 feet with an overcast layer at 800 feet. Visibility was 1 3/4 miles in light snow. The winds were from 360 degrees at 4 knots.

According to a meteorologist in the Auburn/Lewiston area, 5 inches of snow fell between 1400 on December 20, 2001, and 0700 on December 21, 2001. There was no weather observer at the Lewiston Airport to augment the AWOS system, and snow depth measurements were not available.

According to the Cessna Caravan Cold-Weather Operations Manual:

"No attempt should be made to take off with a load of ice or snow. Ice and snow on the wings will change the shape of the airfoil and disturb the flow of air over the wings, reducing available lift and airspeeds. Do not assume that light snow will melt or blow off during taxi-out or the takeoff run. Even if it does, it may reveal ice or frost beneath."

A review of the company operations manual by Teleford Aviation and the FAA after the accident resulted in new, more stringent de-ice requirements for the flight crews. Included in the new de-icing procedures was the mandatory use of de-icing fluid prior to taxi in freezing precipitation between plus 2 and minus 4 degrees Celsius.

Takeoff performance planning, as well as aborted takeoff criteria considerations for operation on contaminated runways were also added.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to adequately ensure the wings were free of contamination prior to departure. Factors included the operator's inadequate de-icing procedures and the snowy weather conditions.

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