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Thu, Oct 11, 2007

NTSB Assigns Investigator To WA Caravan Accident

Looking Into Possibility Of Icing

Sunday's accident involving a Cessna Caravan 208B which claimed 10 lives in Washington state will get the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board's senior investigator.

The Everett (WA) Daily Herald reports Howard Plagens was en route to the accident scene Wednesday morning with a team including two to three investigators from the FAA and two from Cessna Aircraft.

Other investigators in Washington DC will study radar logs and weather factors. The FAA will reportedly submit results of its own investigation to the NTSB.

An area of interest to investigators will be weather conditions over the Cascades at the time of the accident -- including the possibility of airframe icing, a past issue on Caravans.

As ANN reported last year, the NTSB urgently recommended the FAA prohibit operation of Caravans in conditions more severe than light icing, and that pilots maintain at least 120 knots airspeed when encountering icing conditions of any kind in the C-208 series.

Carl Cerniglia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, tells CBS News the temperature at White Pass was 33 degrees at 5,800 feet at the time of the accident, with overcast skies and light precipitation.

"It was not ideal flying weather, by any means," Cerniglia told The Associated Press. "Temperatures were cool enough and moisture was high enough where [icing] could have been a possibility."

NTSB says the wreckage will be reassembled off-site, probably at a location in King County. Plagens is expected to write a preliminary report in the next four to five days.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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