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N23358 accident description

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Tail numberN23358
Accident dateAugust 01, 1994
Aircraft typeAir Tractor AT-301
LocationHunter, AR
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT:

On August 1, 1994, at 1030 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-301, N23358, was substantially damaged while maneuvering near Hunter, Arkansas. The commercial pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the aerial application flight.

Witnesses and the operator reported the following information. The aerial application flight departed from a private grass airstrip at the rice farm. The pilot started spraying about 0900 and was dispensing fungicide on the rice field. During the pilot's second spray run, he was dispensing the fungicide in a west to east flight path above the rice field. At approximately 50 feet above the ground, the pilot turned off the spraying nozzles and initiated a climbing turn-around maneuver. Obstructions blocked the witnesses view of the airplane during the turn around. Witnesses heard the impact, reported the accident, and assisted the pilot.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION:

The pilot began flight training on June 21, 1993, and obtained his private pilot rating on February 28, 1994. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he accumulated a total flight time of 28.6 hours (17.3 spraying training) in the PA-18-150, 20 hours of spraying training in the PA-25-235, and 31.5 hours of spraying training in the AT-301. He satisfactorily completed the commercial rating on May 18, 1994. The Pilot/Operator Report states 150 hours total time in the AT-301.

During interviews, associates and training personnel reported the following information. The pilot was among the top 5 percent of the students trained in the agricultural training school. Instructors at the school had to make the pilot wear his helmet during the agricultural training. They recalled telling the pilot on numerous occasions to have respect for the airplane. They emphasized to the pilot how important it was for a slow pull up during the turn around maneuver. Associates described the pilot as wearing a cowboy hat instead of the helmet and "cowboying the airplane." They observed the pilot perform steep turn-around maneuvers on numerous occasions.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION:

Local authorities stated the airplane remained intact and came to rest in a vertical position. The airplane hopper and engine was found buried in 2 1/2 feet of water and mud in the rice field. The top of the cabin was facing in an easterly direction with the leading edges of the wings resting in the rice plants.

Major components were recovered prior to the on scene arrival of the investigator-in-charge. The leading edges of the wings were crushed and buckled. Horizontal stabilizer rods were separated consistent with overload. Flight control continuity was established.

The engine exhibited impact damage on the cylinders and accessories. There were no anomalies found with the engine or accessories. The metal chip detector and oil filter were clean. Fuel continuity was established to the engine. The propeller blades exhibited bending and torsional twisting. Fuel tank lines were compromised.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION:

Autopsy and toxicology were not ordered.

ADDITIONAL DATA:

The airplane was released to the operator following the investigation.

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