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N2014U accident description

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Tail numberN2014U
Accident dateFebruary 19, 1999
Aircraft typeWeatherly 620B
LocationYuma, AZ
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On February 19, 1999, at 2309 hours mountain standard time, a Weatherly 620B, N2014U, collided with power lines during an aerial application flight near Yuma, Arizona. The aircraft, owned and operated by Morris Ag Air and Sons, Inc., was destroyed during the impact sequence and postcrash fire. The commercial pilot, who was also the owner of the company, sustained fatal injuries. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 137 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and there was no flight plan filed for the flight. The airplane had departed nearby Somerton, Arizona, about 2240 for the local area flight.

Three eyewitnesses to the crash sequence reported that the pilot had just finished applying the last load of fungicide and was beginning a climbing left turn when the aircraft contacted the power lines located at the edge of the field.

According to the Yuma Police Report, the pilot's brother was a safety spotter for the pilot during his aerial flights. He told the police department that his brother had been crop dusting for approximately 3 1/2 hours and had been just finishing up the job when the accident occurred. He said his brother was flying east when the aircraft struck a power line and went down in the field. He heard two loud "pops" and looked up and saw the aircraft on the ground. He did not actually witness the collision with the wire.

The second eyewitness told the police department that about 2300 he witnessed a crop duster make an east turn, at which point he saw it "lose control." He said that the crop duster spun counterclockwise and hit the ground. Immediately after the airplane came into contact with the ground, he said he saw a flash and then the airplane caught on fire.

The Yuma police report indicated that the third eyewitness said he saw an airplane traveling eastbound and watched it tip sideways, because of a possible power line. The eyewitness said that the left wing hit the ground first, followed by the propeller. The aircraft collided with the ground and exploded into flames.

The police report indicates that a firefighter who initially responded to the scene said he witnessed the crash as well. He stated that he was in his backyard located near the field when he noticed a crop duster doing passes in the field about 2300. The airplane banked left as it finished a pass and the eyewitness stated he heard the engine make a noise "as if it bogged down." The airplane went down nose first in the field and burst into flames. The firefighter said he grabbed his radio, since he was a Fire Engineer, and contacted the fire dispatch to inform them about the accident. He then drove to the scene.

The Yuma Police noticed a cable, which they said appeared to be copper in nature, extend around the rear tail section of the airplane and around one of the nozzle-like devices attached to the airplane along the south side, and found it intertwined in a wheel. Additionally, they said the engine was located west of the aircraft. They made note of the cable, which was intertwined in the propeller shaft area and lead off from the aircraft north to where the power line was taken down.

The moon's illumination was calculated using a Sun/Moon program. The illumination of the moon at 2309 on February 19, 1999, was 19 percent. The magnetic bearing to the moon was 269 degrees. The moon's altitude was calculated to be -08.6 degrees below the horizon.

The pilot's toxicology sample, which was sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis, tested positive for "Ranitidine." According to the medical officer with the Safety Board, this is the common ingredient in the over-the-counter medication Zantac. Zantac is commonly used for heartburn and other stomach ailments. The medical officer said that there were no adverse affects to flying while the pilot was taking this medication.

The Safety Board did not take custody of the wreckage.

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