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Sat, Jan 22, 2005

NTSB: King Air Ambulance Was Iced

Investigators Say They Found Ice On Wings, Tail, Landing Gear And Props

An NTSB spokesperson has stated that the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance Beechcraft King Air E-90 that we recently reported had crashed had ice on its wings, control surfaces, landing gear and props. All three crew members perished in the accident.

David Bowling, an NTSB employee, told the Steamboat Pilot that investigators had found ice on all those locations of the 1978 turboprop, which was operated by Mountain Flight Service. The initial investigation found that the ice was still attached to the aircraft's surfaces and gear three days after the accident. The investigation is still ongoing as to how much ice there was, and what role it played in the crash.
 
"Certainly weather is going to play a factor," Bowling said. "But we really can't stand on that just yet."

The aircraft crashed on January 11 at 2145 some three miles from the Rawlins Municipal Airport in Colorado. They had left Steamboat Springs (CO) earlier in order to pick up a patient from the Carbon County Hospital. The pilot of the aircraft was identified as Tim Benway, 35. Air ambulance director and flight nurse Dave Linner, 36, and flight nurse Jennifer Wells, 30, also perished. One person survived, though -- EMT Tim Baldwin, 35, who is listed in fair condition at a hospital in Fort Collins (CO).

Bob Maddox, the co-owner of Mountain Flight Service, stated that icing is something their crews and aircraft are prepared for, and that one of the reasons they use the King Air (company photo above) is precisely because it has equipment to handle icing conditions. "Those airplanes are very well built, stable, (and) had the ability to shed ice," said Maddox. "If ice was a contributing factor, it had to be something unusual, more than typical. There was no report of any kind of icing preflight. Had we known there was severe icing, we wouldn't have gone."

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.rockymountainfun.com/mfser.html

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