NTSB Points to De-icing in Gaithersburg Crash

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January 20, 2016
Three healthcare professionals, a mother and her two young children were killed on December 8, 2014, when an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 stalled and crashed into a house 3/4 miles short of the runway at Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

An NTSB report released on January 19, 2016 noted that the stall characteristics exhibited by the plane during the approach are consistent with an ice-contaminated airplane. Although the plane was equipped with an engine anti-ice system and a wing and stabilizer de-ice system, investigators found that the wing/stabilizer de-icing switch was not activated. 

The pilot, Dr. Michael Rosenberg, 66, and two passengers David Hartman, 52, and Chijioke Ogbuka, 31, all of North Carolina were killed on impact. Gaithersburg resident Marie Gemmell, 36, and two of her children - 3-year-old Cole and 7-week-old Devin died in a house fire caused by the crash.

The weather data indicate that the accident flight encountered clouds and was exposed to
structural icing conditions while descending into the Gaithersburg area. There were
numerous reports of ice from pilots flying in the area, and the accident pilot indicated that he
was still in the clouds almost 15 min after entering them.

The final outside air temperature recorded by the flight recorder was 35.15 degree Fahrenheit and investigators found ice accumulation on the aircraft's nose, wing leading edges and horizontal stabilizer.

The recorded normal load factor shows a stall break at about the same time the aural stall warning sounded, providing no advance warning of the impending stall. Investigators concluded that had the pilot turned on the airplane de-ice system, he likely would have received the aural stall warning about 20 seconds sooner and well before the stall break. 

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