Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N10035 accident description

Go to the Arkansas map...
Go to the Arkansas list...

Tail numberN10035
Accident dateMarch 19, 1998
Aircraft typeAir Tractor AT-502
LocationMcgehee, AR
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 19, 1998, at 0558 central standard time, an Air Tractor AT-502 agricultural airplane, N10035, was destroyed following a loss of control while maneuvering near McGehee, Arkansas. The instrument rated commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under Title 14 CFR Part 137. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the aerial application flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the operator's private airstrip at 0554.

The airplane was loaded with "Roundup Ultra" defoliant, to be sprayed on two fields located approximately 3 miles southeast of the operator's airstrip. Witnesses near the accident site reported that they heard the airplane take off toward the west during the early dawn in "clear weather."

The owner of a convenience store near the accident site reported that a very dense fog formed within 10 minutes from the time he arrived to open the store at 0545. He further stated that the weather was "clear and 50 degrees" when he first opened, and by the time he came out to unlock the fuel pumps, he "could not see the other side of the street due to the heavy fog that had formed."

An individual that resides in a mobile home near the accident site reported that he "could not see the airplane due to the fog, but he heard the airplane maneuvering" west of his location. He further reported hearing the sound of the engine accelerating prior to hearing the sound of the airplane impacting the trees. Another individual, who resides less than a half mile from the accident site, was out for a morning stroll and reported hearing the continuous sound of the engine interrupted by the sound of tree and ground impact. He also reported that "the horizontal visibility was less than 100 feet."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 50 year old pilot was a French citizen. He obtained his FAA commercial certificate on May 22, 1972, adding an airplane instrument rating on June 19, 1972. The pilot completed an aerial application course on April 12, 1973. His last biennial flight review (BFR) was completed on December 5, 1997, in his own Cessna 172K airplane (N736HW). According to the pilot's logbook, the pilot logged 18 minutes of simulated instrument time during his last BFR. His last instrument competency check was completed on November 11, 1989.

According to the pilot's logbook entries, the pilot had accumulated a total of 14,246 hours in single engine airplanes and 8.4 hours in multiengine airplanes. The same page revealed that the pilot had accumulated 27.4 hours of actual instrument weather time and 61.7 hours of simulated instrument (hood) time.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The restricted category AT-502 airplane, serial number 502-0020, was issued an FAA special airworthiness certificate on May 2, 1988. The airplane was restricted to day and night VFR operations. Flight instruments installed in the airplane amounted to an altimeter, an airspeed indicator, and a slip indicator.

The airplane was purchased by the operator from Lane Aviation in Rosenberg, Texas, on August 31, 1993. Total time on the airframe at the time of the last annual inspection on February 5, 1998, was 5,607 hours. The Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engine, serial number PCE-40478, had accumulated a total of 9,107 hours at the time of the last 100 hour inspection, also performed on February 5, 1998.

The airplane was factory equipped with a 500 gallon hopper system. Optional equipment installed on the airplane included an air conditioner and a SATLOC GPS system.

A review of the airframe and engine maintenance records provided to the FAA inspector and the NTSB investigator-in-charge, did not indicate any anomalies or uncorrected defects prior to the flight. The FAA inspector stated that a base inspection of the operator's facilities and records had been accomplished 2 days prior to accident. The base inspection concluded that the operator was operating within the scope of his FAA certificate.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Physical evidence at the accident site indicates that the airplane impacted the trees and terrain in a nose low attitude, in a right turn, on a measured magnetic heading of 310 degrees. The airframe came to rest on a measured heading of 340 degrees, approximately 120 feet from the initial ground point of impact.

The initial point of ground impact was a crater approximately 18 feet wide, 9 feet long, and 30 inches deep, located on the west embankment of the Bayou Bartholomew, approximately 20 feet from the shore.

Both wings were found separated from the fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. Both main landing gears separated from the airframe.

Both 63 gallon fuel cells were compromised during the accident sequence. Evidence of fuel was found on the ground and on the surrounding vegetation.

The engine along with portions of the engine mount, separated from the airframe and was found approximately 120 feet forward of the resting place of the airplane. The damage to the stators and turbine blades was consistent with a high rate of rotation at the time of the impact. Evidence of rotational scoring, rubbing and deformation was found throughout the turbine case of the engine.

The Hartzell propeller system, which was found separated from the engine at the propeller flange, was partly buried in the ground approximately 60 feet from the initial point of ground impact. All 3 propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. All propeller blades exhibited severe "S" bending and rotational marks. The tips and outer portions of all the blades were found separated.

Several tree trunks and branches in the wreckage path of the airplane exhibited slash marks. There was no post-impact fire.

The flaps were found extended to the 10 degree position.

No evidence of pre-impact mechanical failure or malfunction was found at the accident site during the field portion of the investigation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy and toxicological tests were requested and performed. The autopsy was performed by Charles P. Kokes, M.D., of the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, Arkansas, on March 20, 1998. Toxicological tests were negative.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

The 911 operator received the first call at 0602, and the wreckage was located nearly an hour later on the west bank of the Bayou Bartholomew, less than a quarter of a mile from the operator's airstrip. The airplane was not equipped with an electronic locator transmitter (ELT).

The pilot was wearing a flight helmet at the time of the accident. The shoulder harnesses and seat belts remained attached to the airframe, and restrained the pilot.

TEST AND RESEARCH

A "flashdisk" PC card, serial number 175708B, was removed from the on-board SAT-LOC computer for further examination. The PC card was shipped to the manufacturer's facility to be read out. The computer stored memory recorded the entire flight. The data revealed that the airplane departed form the airfield at 0554 and 22 seconds. The total distance traveled by the airplane prior to impact was 3.21 nautical miles. The data revealed that the flight terminated at 0558 and 54 seconds. See enclosed map overlay showing the route of the flight.

ADDITIONAL DATA

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative at the completion of the field portion of the investigation.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.