Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pete Zeliff

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Detroit, Michigan 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Zeliff Aviation  LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N525PZ

Pete Zeliff walks around the burning wreckage of his Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 on January 16th, 2017 following a crash in Howell, Michigan.

Location: Howell, MI
Accident Number: CEN17LA078
Date & Time: 01/16/2017, 1159 EST
Registration: N525PZ
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On January 16, 2017, at 1159 eastern standard time, a Textron Aviation 525C, N525PZ, collided with the terrain following a loss of control on landing at the Livingston County Airport (OZW), Howell, Michigan. The private pilot received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by Zeliff Aviation, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed near the accident site and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Genessee County Airport (GCQ), Batavia, New York at 1057.

The pilot reported that prior to the flight he checked the weather and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) on the Aviation Digital Data Services Meteorological Terminal Aviation Routine Weather Reports (ADD METAR) website. When preparing for the Instrument Landing System (ILS) runway 13 approach at OZW, the pilot listened to the Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS) and he used the airplane's flight management system (FMS) to determine the landing performance data. The pilot stated the Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) was showing rain in the area, but the onboard radar was not. He did not encounter any precipitation once he descended below the clouds. He then canceled his flight plan and continued the approach.

The pilot stated he knew there was a possibility of there being ice on the runway, as the weather conditions were favorable for ice. He stated he decided to continue the approach making sure he was accurately flying the approach speeds and that he did not land long on the runway. He stated he was prepared to go-around if the runway was icy. In addition, he saw an airplane holding short on a taxiway at the end of the runway, which appeared to be waiting for him to land so that it could depart, and this led him to believe the runway condition was good. The pilot did not use the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) to inquire about the runway conditions.

The pilot stated that upon touchdown, he applied the speed brakes and spoilers. Once the nose wheel touched down, he applied the brakes and realized he had no braking action. He retracted the speed brakes, spoilers and flaps and applied takeoff power. The airplane yawed to the left, so he reduced the power to idle and applied right rudder to correct the airplane's heading. The airplane continued off the runway where it contacted a fence, a ditch, and crossed a road prior to coming to rest. The pilot next recalled the airplane came to rest with him hanging upside down by the seatbelt. He crawled out of the airplane and noticed the wings had separated.

The lineman who was working in the fixed base operator reported hearing the pilot announce that he was on the ILS approach and then again that he was on short final. He stated the airplane touched down prior to the taxiway A-2 turnoff, and he asked the pilot if he knew where he was going to park. He walked outside and noticed the airplane was near the east end of the runway. He recalled hearing the engine power increase followed by the impact and black smoke.

The airplane that was sitting at the end of the runway was being taxied to a maintenance shop and was not going to takeoff. The pilot and mechanic in the airplane stated they saw the airplane during its approach which looked "normal." They stated the taxiways were icy and there was mist/light rain in the area. Another witness who saw the accident and assisted the pilot following the accident, stated the roads were covered with ice and "very slick." This witness stated that the sleet and freezing rain had started about an hour before the accident.

The aircraft recording system (AReS II) data from the airplane was downloaded. The data showed the airplane was ½ mile from the runway at 200 ft above ground level at an airspeed of 110 knots, and that the airplane touched down near the approach end of the runway prior to veering to the left. After touching down, the throttles were advanced for a period of about 15 seconds, reduced, then advanced momentarily once again.

The Model 525C landing performance data charts show that at a weight of 14,500 lbs, a landing reference speed (Vref) of 108 KIAS, and with no wind, the landing distance on a wet icy runway would have been about 13,625 ft. The length of runway 13 was 5,002 ft.

A NOTAM had not been issued regarding the icy runway conditions at OZW. The airport manager stated he was not at the airport at the time of the accident, and that he was still trying to learn the new digital NOTAM manager system. The employee who was at the airport was authorized to issue NOTAMs, but had not yet been trained on the new system. Subsequent to the accident, the airport manager reported that the employees have been trained on inspecting runway conditions and issuing NOTAMs. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/09/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/10/2016
Flight Time:  5800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 320 hours (Total, this make and model), 66.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23.9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: TEXTRON AVIATION INC
Registration: N525PZ
Model/Series: 525C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 525C0196
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats:  11
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/14/2017, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 10399 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Turbo Fan
Airframe Total Time: 320 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: WILLIAMS
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: FJ44-4A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 3621 lbs
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KOZW, 962 ft msl
Observation Time: 1159 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -3°C
Lowest Ceiling:  Overcast / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  3 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 130°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Snow
Departure Point: Batavia, NY (GVO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Howell, MI (OZW)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1057 EST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Livingston Co. (OZW)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 962 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Ice
Runway Used: 13
IFR Approach: ILS
Runway Length/Width: 5002 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.627222, -83.973611 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA078
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 16, 2017 in Howell, MI
Aircraft: TEXTRON AVIATION INC 525C, registration: N525PZ
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 16, 2017, at 1159 eastern standard time, N525PZ, a Textron Aviation 525S, collided with a fence, trees, and the terrain following a loss of control on landing at the Livingston County Airport (OZW), Howell, Michigan. The private pilot received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a post impact fire. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Zeliff Aviation, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Genessee County Airport, Batavia, New York at 1047.

A small plane on the runway of Howell-Livingston County Airport in Michigan waiting to take off confirmed for Pete Zeliff what his instruments and in-flight communications were telling him: it was safe to land.

As soon as his wheels touched down, he knew he wouldn't be able to stop. He immediately took the speed brakes up, put the flaps out and brought the power up to try and take off again, but before his wheels left the runway, his Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 turned 90 degrees and he began sliding sideways. He managed to get the plane pointed straight again, but by then he was nearly out of runway.

"I thought, well, I'm just along for the ride now," Zeliff said in an interview with The Batavian this morning.

He said he remembers hitting a fence and a ditch but doesn't remember anything else until he found himself hanging upside down in his harness in the plane. He managed to get himself out and was walking around the plane when emergency responders arrived.

Federal Aviation Administration officials told him he walked to the ambulance himself, but he said the next thing he remembers is coming to in the ambulance and being told they were about 10 or 15 minutes from the hospital.

"I thought when I got to hospital I felt pretty good," Zeliff said. "I didn’t think I had any of the injuries I have. I thought I would be checked out, they would sign me off and send me home."

He suffered a fractured spine in two places, two broken ribs, and a cracked sternum. His doctors told him he's got about 10 weeks of recovery ahead of him, but then he should be fine with no lasting issues.

Zeliff, owner of p.w. minor, along with other local business interests, returned to Batavia two days ago and actually went into the office yesterday for a couple of hours, but said he will be on a light work schedule for the next few weeks.

As for the landing, he said his radar, "next rad" and the weather reports for the airport were rain with a ceiling of 6,000 feet and good visibility. He said he canceled his IFR (instrument flight rules) about five miles out from the airport. 

"There's an airplane at the end of the runway waiting to take off," Zeliff said. "I assumed there was ice, OK, but I didn't think it would be bad because of that little plane."

He's been interviewed by an investigator with the FAA and was informed yesterday there would be no FAA action in response to the accident.

"They said I did everything right," Zeliff said. "They actually said they wish more pilots would fly like I do."

The plane is a total loss. Its wings were sheared off, catching on fire at that point, well away from the upside-down fuselage. 

News video from the accident scene made the crash look pretty scary.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't have time to get scared," Zeliff said. "The whole episode probably took only 10 or 15 seconds. It's hard to tell right now, but I know I didn't have a lot of time to make decisions."

Soure:  http://www.thebatavian.com

HOWELL, MICH. (WIVB) — Pete Zeliff is known as a successful business leader in Genesee County and beyond, a generous donor of his time and resources — including his various aircraft —  and an ace in the sky.

The 60-year-old from Batavia walked away from a crash early Monday in mid-Michigan. His family, authorities there and even Good Samaritans who stopped to pull him from the wreckage say he’s lucky to be alive.

“This could have been a lot worse,” said Livingston County (Mich.) Undersheriff Jeff Warder. “It could’ve been obviously a major tragedy.”

Authorities say Zeliff was trying to land his private jet in Howell, Mich., when it slipped on the runway and crashed into a nearby field.

Debbie Derisley, who lives in Amherst, is Pete’s sister.

She received the call early Monday she hoped would never come.

“And they said, Pete’s been in a plane crash, he’s OK, he’s in the hospital,” she said. “Ever since he started flying, I’ve always had this dread of getting that kind of phone call. So it was a good thing I was sitting down, cause it blew me away.”

The aircraft flew over a road at the end of the roadway, missing passing traffic below.

When the plane hit the field, trees sheared the wings from the fuselage, and they burst into flames.

“And when the pictures started coming in and I saw the wings separated from the plane and on fire cause they exploded when they ripped from the plane,” Derisley said. “My heart sank to my stomach.”

One of the passersby who stopped was the town’s mayor.

“I and two others ran to the fuselage, asking if anyone was inside, if anyone was OK. I saw a hand waiving from the pilot’s window,” said Howell Mayor Nick Proctor. “Again, the fuselage was upside down at this point. We went to the other side of the fuselage, opened the door and helped the gentleman out of the craft.

“He told me that he owned the plane and he was coming in for a landing and essentially skidded off the runway,” he added. “But there were no reports of ice.”

Zeliff, who owns the shoe manufacturer P.W. Minor, in Batavia, is an experienced pilot and avid hunter.

“I know my brother,” Derisley said. “As soon as he’s given the OK, I know he’s going to be flying again. He’s got other planes. He will be out doing what he loves.”

He’s also generous, often donating his aircraft for local families in need.

In 2016, he flew Ella Suhr, from Lyndonville, and her family to St. Petersburg, Fla., where the baby was treated for a rare and often lethal brain tumor.
In September, she was declared cancer free.

Zeliff also flew Jim Kelly to New York City for a few treatments during the Hall of Famer’s battle with cancer.

Story and video:   http://wivb.com

A plane owned by Zeliff Aviation skidded off a runway while trying to land at an airport in Livingston County, Mich. today and according to news reports from the area, the pilot suffered only minor injuries. 

The pilot was Pete Zeliff, owner of p.w. minor and a member of the GCEDC board of directors. Zeliff is avid about aviation and owns planes and a helicopter, which are located at the Genesee County Airport.  He annually sponsors an aviation summer camp at the airport for young people.

According to patient information at the University of Michigan Hospital, Zeliff is undergoing treatment but has not been admitted. A source said he was being kept for observation but is OK.

According to reports, Zeliff was attempting to land a Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 at Howell-Livingston County Airport just before noon. The plane was unable to stop on the runway and it crashed through a barrier and across a roadway. The wings were torn off and the fuselage came to rest upside down.

One of the witnesses and first on the scene was a local mayor, Nick Proctor, who said he talked with the pilot and was told Zeliff had not been alerted to icy conditions on the runway before attempting to land.

Zeliff is active in the community on several fronts and rescued p.w. minor from almost certain closure a couple of years ago. He's invested heavily in the company since, created dozens of new jobs, returned manufacturing from China and is helping to get a new retail shoe store open downtown.  He also developed a subdivision of homes on the east end of Town of Batavia off of Route 5 called Oakmont.

Source:  http://www.thebatavian.com

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. - A Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 plane slid off a runway Monday at Livingston County Airport causing the plane to catch fire, according to Crosswinds Aviation.

Livingston County sheriff's officials say the accident happened Monday at the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport near Howell. 

City officials say the pilot was the only person on board the aircraft and was taken to the hospital.

The wings detached from the plane and continued sliding, catching fire.

It's not clear what caused the aircraft to lose control or catch fire. Officials say the accident is being investigated.

Source:  http://www.clickondetroit.com

A Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 plane skidded off the runway of Spencer J Hardy Airport in Howell Township Monday, swerving before losing its wings, which “exploded,” a witness said.

The pilot, identified by police as a 60-year-old Batavia, New York, man, was taken by Livingston County EMS paramedics to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor for non-life threatening injuries.

“I’m so grateful he wasn’t hurt more,” witness Paige Engerer said about the pilot.

Engerer was traveling east on M-59 shortly before noon when she noticed what she thought was “the outline of a plane.” She slowed and watched as the Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 attempted to land at the airport.

Sheriff Michael Murphy said the pilot “lost control” and the jet “continued through the airport fence, across Tooley Road” where it struck some small trees.

Murphy said that, after striking the trees, the wings separated from the fuselage and caught fire while the fuselage continued a short distance before overturning and coming to rest.

Engerer said the jet was “swerving” as it moved across Tooley Road.

“One of the wings came off and ended up exploding,” Engerer said. “I didn’t know where it would end up, so I started to stop and get over. It barrel rolled and slid up into the bushes.”

Engerer said she and other witnesses were concerned the second engine would also explode, and men carrying fire extinguishers slowly approached the aircraft.

One man kept shouting, “Is anybody in there?” Witnesses continued to inch closer, and one of the men then noticed the pilot waving his hands, Engerer said.

The men opened the door while asking the pilot if he was OK and had any injuries. When the pilot indicated that he had no broken bones, three men helped extricate the pilot, who told his rescuers that he was in from New York and “had no warning of ice this way,” Engerer said.

“He was landing and slid right off the runway. That was super crazy. He walked away,” she said.

The Howell Area Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Source:   http://www.livingstondaily.com

A Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 plane skidded off the runway this morning at the Livingston County Airport, leaving the plane in pieces and the pilot shaken-up, with just minor injuries.

Howell Mayor Nick Proctor was on his way to a Howell Rotary meeting this morning, which was being held at the EMS Center on Tooley Road, next to the Livingston County Airport. He tells WHMI that as he drove down M-59 toward Tooley Road, he saw a plane skidding off the runway, proceed across Tooley Road and through a fence, which ripped its wings off. He says the wings then exploded. The fuselage continued on for another 30 yards into a field. Proctor says he ran over to the Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 plane and saw a hand waving from the cockpit, which was upside down. He and two other bystanders helped the pilot out. He was the only one on board, and other than a cut to his head, was okay. The pilot said he had flown in from New York state. Proctor says after first-responders arrived on the scene, he continued on to the Rotary meeting. A representative of the Federal Aviation Administration was on the scene of the crash.

The National Weather Service has issued a Freezing Rain Advisory for Southeast Michigan until 2am Tuesday, with steady rain expected while temperatures remain below 32 degrees. 

Source:   http://whmi.com

HOWELL, Mich. (WJBK) - Emergency crews are responding Monday afternoon to a crash at the Livingston County Airport in Howell.

We're told a plane crashed as it appeared to be landing. We're told only the pilot was onboard and only suffered minor injuries.
We're told the plane, however, broke in half. The Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 left New York for Livingston County around 11 am Monday.

According to Aviation-Safety.net, the plane landed just before noon and skidded past the end of the runway. Almost 1200 feet later, it came to rest just before Tooley Road. The wings were torn off and fuselage came to rest inverted. 

Livingston County sheriff's officials say the accident happened late Monday morning at the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport near Howell. The pilot was the only person aboard.

Howell Mayor Nick Proctor tells WHMI-FM he was on his way to a meeting when he saw the plane go off the runway and through a fence, which ripped off the wings and caused the fire.

Proctor and others helped the pilot, who is being evaluated at a hospital. Proctor says the pilot had flown from New York.

No other injuries were reported.

The Livingston County Airport is located near the Tanger Outlets in Howell, near Grand River Avenue and M-59 Highland Road.

Source:   http://www.fox2detroit.com


  1. There was freezing rain that started in the late morning around here and even with traffic the roads were still slippery in spots. The runway would have had little or no activity before this landing and I'm sure it was a factor.

  2. It is the pilot's responsibility to be aware of enroute and airport conditions...not someone else's responsibility to inform the pilot of potential icing conditions... Am I reading this wrong or is the pilot attempting to punt the cause and circumstance elsewhere?

    Steven Frost

  3. Pilot should check RWY conditions.. Costly mistake.
    ATP, CF II SEME. Part 135..

  4. The weather report would indicate possible icing conditions. Typically, Before even taking off to a small airport like this, we would call the FBO and get someone out on the runway to provide current conditions. This might have been done and conditions were fine? if you think the runway is compromised, a CJ4 needs a min of 10,000 ft runway to land. This airport was 5000 ft. From the news report I saw, I think he tried to abort landing but clipped the trees at the end of the runway, which took off his wings. Pilot is very lucky to walk away from this accident

  5. A CJ4 does not need 10,000 feet of runway to land.

  6. Please do share your evidence where the CJ4 can land safely on a less than 5000 ft. runway.

  7. Straight From Cessna's Website
    2,940 ft landing distance.


    Maximum Cruise Speed 451 ktas (835 km/h)
    Maximum Range 2,165 nm (4,010 km)
    Takeoff Field Length 3,410 ft (1,039 m)
    Landing Distance 2,940 ft (896 m)
    Maximum Operating Altitude 45,000 ft (13,716 m)
    Maximum Climb Rate 3,854 fpm (1,175 mpm)
    Maximum Limit Speed 0.77 Mach (0.77 Mach)

  8. the pilot had not been alerted to icy conditions on the runway before attempting to land
    WHO'S responsibility? Certainly not KOZW, it had nothing to do with the aircraft accident!

  9. Let's assume the pilot was unaware of the ice on the runway and was not experiencing much braking action. The CJ4 does not have thrust reversers so the only course of action was for the pilot to lock up the brakes with maximum force and let the anti-skid computers keep the aircraft moving straight down the runway. I'd be curious if the pilot took this action or just applied moderate braking with no results. Glad there were no major injuries.

  10. I doubt there is a CJ-4 chart for BRAN, braking action nil. I suspect there is a CJ-4 contaminated runway chart for snow and rain. Further wager that the smallest change in runway condition doubles, or nearly doubles the landing distance. The definition of BRAN is "going of the end of the runway at the same speed you touch down at". If it was nil, or even poor, it is the responsibility of the airport management to issue a NOTAM and perhaps close the runway. For most of us who fly the system regularly we know the reports are not always timely. According to Mapquest it appears he overshot the runway by several thousand feet. Like all accidents there is more to this story than what appears on the surface (pun intended).

  11. When the runway is compromised, 10,000 ft runway is required. Call Cessna and flight safety if you don't agree so they can change their manuals.

  12. mmmmm,,,,,,as ace pilot, superior to all, 10,000 feet for a CJ4 huh?? Don't think so unless over the fence you're indicating +300 kts plus .....

    When your 60, spend some modest extra cash and get an SIC.......that old you should be in the back with a cold corona and a 22 year old female companion ~

    Ace jet pilot

  13. Good thing he was alone. I believe he has done allot of volunteer flying in this plane or a similar plane for patients needing critical medical treatment. I admired him for that. However, if I were flying this aircraft at his age, I would hire a qualified pilot for right seat. I guess his insurance company will have the final say. I'm 65 and rely on backup for this reason.

  14. When will the FAA draft FARs that WILL NOT allow single pilot jet operations? This problem is getting out of control!

  15. Landing Distance 2,940 ft. OK, maybe for sales purposes. Certainly not realistic! I am positive that value is derived from 1. Dry surface. 2. New aircraft. 3. Test pilot, etc... Let's get real, add a 1.5 factor for normal ops with a dry surface. When ice is present, divert! Very poor decision making. Sorry!

  16. I would agree that it would be more than 2,940 with icy runway but wouldn't a pilot realize a Nil braking action and go around immediately and go find a better airport? tough to put the blame on the airport or pilot since it's unmanned airport and there would have been no pireps if he was the first. Just a bad judgement call if you look at temperature and moisture I personally would have used some caution and called around.

  17. My quick rule of thumb for the last 40 years is if the runway is wet DOUBLE the landing distance (2940 x 2), if it's icy with poor breaking action triple the landing distance (2940 x 3). NIL breaking, I land somewhere else. For dry runway no less than 5000 ft.

  18. Perfect! If everyone applied that rule, most accident cases would have ended with a much better outcome.

  19. Previous comment above: "When will the FAA draft FARs that WILL NOT allow single pilot jet operations? This problem is getting out of control!". This is a stupid comment, they should NOT allow single pilot operations in a C-172 with your logic, more people are killed in single engine, single pilot accidents than in single pilot jets! Geeez

  20. You are correct, statistically. Stupid? At least you can't kill your entire family and the family next door in a 172. I think you are completely missing the persons point - as with single engine turbine operation/failures.

  21. I have to agree with the poster above that says : more people are killed in single pilot piston airplanes than single pilot jet airplanes, and there lots of innocent family members killed in pistons ...... so, are you suggesting all single pilots have a SIC in all aircraft?

  22. This event has 3 simple causes. As we know from the Nall report that pilots for the most part do not intend to crash aircraft it takes a combination of factors to create the accident potential. In this case it was a combination of bad PIC judgement factors:

    1- Failure to properly brief the weather at the destination airport: Freezing rain and an ICE storm had been forecasted for this area for more that 3 days conditions on the ground reflected that for nearly 2 days.
    2- Failure to properly brief the approach: The pic responsibility is to brief the weather and runway conditions at the airport of intended landing to assure that the flight can be conducted safely. In this case it is not clear that the PIC contacted unicom, or listened to ATIS at any of the nearby airports (KPTK, KLAN, KFNT) for their conditions. Additionally it is not clear that appropriate factor for contaminated runway conditions were applied. If the runway conditions and the AFM were consulted the PIC should have considered diverting to a different landing location due to potential runway length limit.
    3- Failure to land within the approach landing zone: Landing long is challenging enough normally on a contaminated runway it almost assures a runway excursion with negative results.

    Prolog, we do not know if the aircraft was on a stabilized approach. The PIC cancelled his IFR clearance and most likely proceeded visually. Professional pilots who fly turbine equipment are trained to fly stabilized approaches ALL the time including instrument procedures the provide lateral and vertical guidance. In this case KOZW has approaches to both RWY 13 and 31 with lateral and vertical guidance down to 200 and 3/4 to 1/2. By following a stabilized and guided approach even in VFR conditions this would have given the PIC the best opportunity to land within the runway length or to abort with enough room to safely divert to an alternate location. Additionally, is is typically the professional approach to contact the destination directly if the weather is questionable to get a first hand update on conditions and Notams at that location. Lastly, if there were any questions on airport conditions KPTK, KLAN, KFNT are close enough and unlike KOZW have full equipment and staff to assure that runway contamination is minimized.

    Finally,the FAR's are clear it the PIC ultimate responsibility for the safe operation of the flight. Irrespective of what the PIC saw with a small aircraft on the ground it was his and no one elses responsibility to assure that the flight could safely be conducted.

    This is not an airport, aircraft certification or training issue. Just very poor judgement on the part of the PIC.


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