Monday, July 11, 2022

Structural Icing: Rans S-7S, N828S; accident occurred January 16, 2022 near Winnemucca Municipal Airport (KWMC), Humboldt County, Nevada

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Winnemucca, Nevada 
Accident Number: ANC22LA013
Date and Time: January 16, 2022, 07:15 Local 
Registration: N828S
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Structural icing 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, before takeoff he noticed a visible layer of frost covering the airplane’s wings. He removed the frost with a towel and proceeded with the engine warm up and preflight checks which lasted about 20 minutes. During the initial climb, the airplane felt “mushy” and failed to gain altitude. The pilot elected to conduct an off-airport landing to a brush covered field. During the landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot reported that the frost must have reformed before takeoff and that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to ensure the airplane’s wings were free of contaminates before departure.


Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Environmental issues Conducive to structural icing - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb Structural icing (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: July 1, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 31, 2020
Flight Time: 973 hours (Total, all aircraft), 550 hours (Total, this make and model), 973 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 11 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LEACH MICHAEL 
Registration: N828S
Model/Series: RANS S7S 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 0504374
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: January 30, 2021 Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1326 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912ULS
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 100 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: KWMC,4314 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 08:56 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 271°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility:  10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 80° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Winnemucca, NV (KWMC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Blackfoot, ID (UO2 ) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 07:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Winnemucca Municipal Airport WMC
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4308 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 020 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4800 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.91,-117.79417(est)

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