Authorities say a pilot was experiencing icing and instrument and other electrical problems when the aircraft he was flying crashed in rural West Texas, killing him and two passengers.
In a preliminary report issued Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board said aircraft had taken off for Harlingen, Texas, early Feb. 20 when the pilot climbed into freezing drizzle and ice began to build up on the aircraft. He decided to return to Abilene Regional Airport because of problems with deicing equipment. The pilot had trouble navigating to the assigned runway because of instrument problems, and a circuit breaker would not reset.
An air traffic controller directed the pilot to climb from 4,700 feet to 5,000 feet, and the pilot said he was "pulling up" when radio contact with the Beechcraft BE20 Super King Air was lost. The plane crashed in open land near Lake Coleman, 26 miles south of the airport.