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N805TH accident description

Maine map... Maine list
Crash location 44.807500°N, 68.828056°W
Nearest city Bangor, ME
44.801182°N, 68.777814°W
2.5 miles away
Tail number N805TH
Accident date 04 Nov 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 208B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 4, 2003, at 1947 eastern standard time, a Cessna 208B, N805TH, operated by AirNow, received minor damage while landing, after the pilot encountered en route icing conditions, and diverted to Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed the Northern Maine Regional Airport (PQI), Presque Isle, Maine, and was destined for Manchester Airport (MHT), Manchester, New Hampshire. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed and activated for the non-scheduled cargo flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 135.

According to the pilot, he obtained a pre-departure weather briefing from the Bangor automated flight service station about 1730, which included a forecast for rain and snow showers. The forecast did not include freezing rain, and the tops of the clouds were forecasted to be 13,000 feet, with no ice. The pilot loaded the airplane and departed Presque Isle, about 1840.

While cruising at 8,000 feet in instrument meteorological conditions, the airplane encountered snow, which became freezing rain. The pilot observed ice on the wing de-ice boots, and the windshield. He then activated the airplane's anti-ice and de-ice equipment. The ice remained attached to the de-ice boots, and extended beyond the boots, onto the wings.

The airplane continued to accumulate ice and the pilot requested a descent to 6,000 feet. The icing conditions were worse at 6,000 feet, however, the de-ice boots appeared to be working properly. Ice continued to accumulate on the windshield, and the pilot requested a clearance direct to BGR. He descended to 3,000 feet and was flying in rain and sleet. The pilot thought the airplane was accumulating rime ice on the windshield, and clear ice on the wings.

The windshield heat was full on, and the annunciator light for windshield heat was illuminated. The view through the windshield was limited to a small opening, which was decreasing in size. The ice had also accumulated across the sides of the windshield.

The pilot further stated:

"..I told BGR tower that I had trouble seeing through the windshield because of the ice and they gave me a heading so I could see the runway out of the left side window before I could start my approach to the airport. The plane felt sluggish and [I] was cleared for a visual [approach to] runway 33 at BGR. Meanwhile ice had formed beyond the boots and onto the wing, but the de-ice boots were still active. BGR gave me a clearance to do a visual approach. The weather was VFR with light rain. I was cleared to land by the BGR tower. I started my landing, using no flaps and kept the airspeed up to 110 knots. Then crabbed very briefly trying to position the plane to the centerline of the runway to the best of my ability. At this time, I had no forward visibility through the windshield, and looked out the side window to judge the distance above the runway. I also asked BGR tower to turn up the runway lights. There was no time to flare the plane...the left main gear hit the runway hard, the nose wheel hit hard, then a prop strike occurred...."

The airplane was equipped with a cargo pod and cargo pod boot. The pilot reported that the airplane's takeoff weight was 7,280 pounds, which included a fuel load of 1,400 pounds, and 790 pounds of cargo. The airplane's maximum gross takeoff weight was 8,750 pounds.

Examination of the airplane after the incident by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the nose landing gear fork was fractured, and the nose wheel had separated from the nose landing gear. The left main wheel remained attached to the axle; however, it was bent up. In addition, the tips of the propeller blades were damaged.

A review of the weather briefing received by the pilot revealed that freezing rain was not forecast. The forecast did call for occasional moderate rime and mixed icing in precipitation, and clouds, up to 20,000 feet.

A post incident check of the windshield anti-ice system revealed no discrepancies.

The pilot reported 4,800 hours of total flight experience, which included 2,800 hours in the Cessna 208. In the 90 days which preceded the accident, the pilot had flown 118 hours in the Cessna 208. The pilot completed a company winter operations workshop in September 2003, and a Cessna 208 icing seminar on October 17, 2003.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inability to see through the windshield, which was obscured due to icing conditions. This resulted in the pilot's inadequate flare, and a subsequent hard landing. A factor contributing to the accident was the wing icing.

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