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N7318K accident description

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Tail numberN7318K
Accident dateApril 08, 2003
Aircraft typeAir Tractor 502
LocationBelle Glade, FL
Near 26.700833 N, -80.662222 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 8, 2003, about 0745 eastern daylight time, an Air Tractor 502B, N6037H, registered to and operated by Glades Ag Services, Inc., and an Air Tractor 502, N7318K, registered to LTI Aviation Services, Inc., also operated by Glades Ag Services, Inc., collided on runway 09/27 at Belle Glade State Municipal Airport, Belle Glade, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for either flight which were operating in accordance with 14 CFR Part 137, as aerial application flights. Both airplanes were destroyed in the resulting postcrash fire and the commercial-rated pilot of N6037H was not injured. The commercial-rated pilot of N7318K was fatally injured. The flight of N6037H was originating at the time of the accident, while the flight of N7318K originated about 0700, from the Belle Glade State Municipal Airport, Belle Glade, Florida.

The pilot of N6037H reported that on the day of the accident, there were eight agricultural airplanes operating from the airport. The weather was good with a light wind from the southeast. Slight early morning haze was present; there was no fog. The east/west oriented runway does not have a parallel taxiway but there is a taxiway that runs north/south which intersects the runway. While taxiing north on the taxiway towards the runway before takeoff, he looked for approaching traffic from the east and west; he did not see any. He taxied onto the runway towards the approach end of runway 9 for his third flight than day. He began his takeoff roll and only observed the other airplane 3-4 seconds before the collision. The two airplanes collided and and there was immediate fire. He exited the right side of his airplane and within seconds, could not get to the other airplane as it was engulfed in flames. He reported the airplanes exploded two more times as he left the area. He did not report using the business radio; he was not injured.

The owner of Glades Ag Services, Inc., verbally reported that the pilot of N7318K had completed his second aerial application flight of the day and had landed on runway 27, the landing was closer to the approach end of runway 27.

A witness who was holding short of the runway in his airplane reported looking to the west and observed a Glades Ag Services, Inc., airplane accelerate to takeoff. He then looked to the east and observed an airplane which had already landed, taxiing on the runway. He observed the collision and immediately heard an explosion.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot of N6037H was issued a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating on November 1, 1985. He was the holder of a second-class medical certificate with the limitation, "Must wear corrective lenses" which was issued on January 31, 2003. He reported having a total flight time of 14,338 hours. He is a full-time pilot for Glades Ag Services, Inc., and has been employed by that company since 1978. He has not had any accidents or incidents since employment by Glades Ag Services, Inc.

The pilot of N7318K was issued a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine and multi-engine land, instrument airplane on October 2, 1979. He was issued a second-class medical certificate with the limitation, "Holder shall possess correcting glasses for near vision while exercising the privileges of his/her airman certificate." The operator reported his total flight time as 24,181 hours. He was a part time employee of Glades Ag Service, Inc., and had just come back April 1, 2003. He had been flying for 5 of the past 7 days. He had flown the accident airplane for 10.7 hours which included 24 landings in the previous 5 days excluding the accident date flights.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A METAR weather observation taken at the Palm Beach International Airport on the day of the accident at 0753 (8 minutes after the accident) reported the wind was from 130 degrees at 10 knots, the visibility was 10 statute miles, few clouds existed at 2,400 feet, scattered clouds existed at 12,000 feet, a broken ceiling existed at 25,000 feet, the temperature and dew point were 25 and 21 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.09 inHg.

Sun and Moon calculations indicate that the beginning of civil twilight occurred at 0643, and sunrise occurred at 0706.

COMMUNICATIONS

Neither airplane was equipped with very high frequency (VHF) radio, but each was equipped with a "business radio" that typically were set to a specific frequency. The owner of Glades Ag Services, Inc., reported that the pilots don't typically use them for takeoff or landing; it is used to relay information about a field.

There was no record that either pilot used the business radio to transmit takeoff or landing intentions.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Belle Glade State Municipal Airport has one runway designated 09/27, which is 3,750 feet in length by 50 feet wide; there is no parallel taxiway at the airport.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On-scene examination of both airplanes was performed by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot of N7318K was performed by Lisa M. Flannagan, M.D., Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office. The cause of death was listed as thermal injuries.

Toxicological testing of speciments of the pilot of N7318K was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory (CAMI) and Wuesthoff Reference Laboratory (Wuesthoff). The results of analysis by CAMI was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs. The results of analysis by Wuesthoff was positive for nicotine metabolite, caffeine, nicotine, and carbon monoxide (4 percent saturation). The other drug screens was negative.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

The deceased pilot was found outside of his airplane; no rescue by bystanders was performed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The NTSB did not retain any components.

Narrative same as MIA03LA088A.

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