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N48721 accident description

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Tail numberN48721
Accident dateJune 06, 2001
Aircraft typeGrumman-Schweizer G-164B
LocationPowhatan, AR
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 6, 2001, approximately 1430 central daylight time, a Grumman-Schweizer G-164B agricultural airplane, N48721, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering after takeoff near Powhatan, Arkansas. The airplane was registered to Hicks Farms, Inc. and operated by Hoxie Flying Service, both of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight was originating from the Cavenaugh Farm staging strip, Powhatan, when the accident occurred.

According to the operator, prior to departing for the 10 minute flight from the Hoxie Flying Service's base of operation to the staging strip, the accident airplane's fuel tanks were topped off. After arriving at the staging strip, the airplane was loaded with 2,300 pounds of fertilizer. The airplane took off from the 2,900-foot dirt strip to the west with a right quartering tailwind (3-4 knots). After takeoff, while the airplane was turning left, its left wing struck trees, located along the east side of the Black River. Subsequently, the airplane impacted the ground in a near inverted, nose low attitude, approximately 3,900 feet from the east end of the air strip. The airplane came to rest upright and was consumed by the ensuing fire.

A witness, the pilot of another airplane that was inbound to the staging strip from the south, reported observing the accident airplane as it was taking off to the west. As the accident airplane broke ground and turned to the south, the witness turned final to land to the east. Because of the dust hanging in the air over the dirt strip, the witness made a quick circle to the north to let the dust clear; therefore, he did not witness the accident. The witness further reported that "the only thing that might have been odd about the takeoff was a slightly longer than normal [roll] out before he broke ground. But not enough concern for me to turn and watch his departure [to the] south."

The operator reported that the normal south departure procedure when taking off west was to turn south prior to the trees and go under a set of power lines. The pilot had previously flown from the staging strip.

Examination of the airplane wreckage, by the FAA inspector who responded to the accident site, revealed that the fuselage and right wing were consumed by fire. The engine was separated from the fuselage, and the propeller was separated from the engine. All three propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. One blade exhibited twisting and was bent aft, and the tips of the other two blades were bent aft. Flight control continuity was established.

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory performed an autopsy on the pilot. There was no evidence found of any preexisting disease that could have contributed to the accident.

Toxicological tests performed by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, alcohol, and drugs.

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