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Wed January 19, 2005
Icing on Wings May Have Caused Rawlins Crash
Denver, CO – The investigation into last week's fatal plane crash near Rawlins is still in its early stages, but icing on the wings is already standing out as a possible cause. David Bowling is the National Transportation Safety Board's Investigator in Charge of the air ambulance crash. Bowling says they noticed icing on the leading edges of the wings when they first examined the aircraft itself last week. And while it's far too early for Bowling to say that icing is what caused the crash, he's leaning that way at this point. He says the icing evidence is pretty compelling and he thinks icing was, at least, a factor in the crash. Bowling says icing on the wings can disrupt air flow, causing a plane to stall and lose control. It can also weigh down a plane and make it harder to maintain altitude. Meanwhile, the NTSB is looking at the Rawlins crash as part of a larger review of safety in the air ambulance industry. In the six days leading up to the Rawlins accident, there were two other air ambulances crashes, both involving helicopters. Bowling says they'll be looking at several such incidents for common operational practices that could contribute to an environment where accidents could occur.