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N7399Z accident description

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Tail numberN7399Z
Accident dateAugust 21, 2005
Aircraft typePiper PA-25-235
LocationColquitt, GA
Near 31.171111 N, -84.732223 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 21, 2005, about 1705 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25-235, N7399Z, registered to and operated by Damascus Dusting, Inc., collided with a tree and the ground while maneuvering in Colquitt, Georgia. The aerial application flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 137 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Colquitt, Georgia, at an undetermined time.

According to the spouse of the pilot, he had started flying spray loads over cotton crops that morning about 0900, took a break for lunch, and then continued flying up to the time of the accident. She had been mixing the chemicals and crop oil for him, and she stated he had about one more load to fly. According to the Miller County Sheriff's department, a witness in a residence reported he heard the airplane's engine "cut off and then the crash right after." The witness saw the airplane on the ground, telephoned the local 911 operator, then went to the accident site to try to help.

Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane was inverted at the edge of an open field bordered by a treeline. The empennage was attached to the fuselage, the right wing was separated and on top of the fuselage, and the left wing was separated on the ground adjacent to the fuselage. An approximate 8-inch area on the leading edge of left wing approximately 3 feet inboard of the wing tip was crushed from the leading edge aft to the spar, and the spar was damaged. The wing skin in the crushed area showed circular, accordion-type deformation. A freshly-broken tree limb approximately 5 inches in diameter was on the ground between the treeline and the wreckage, and one tree within the treeline appeared to have a fresh break approximately 60 feet above the ground. The tree with the broken limb appeared to jut further into the field than the other trees in the treeline.

The engine was partially attached at the engine mount, the propeller was attached, and each propeller blade showed twist deformation, s-shaped bending, chordwise scratches, and the absence of paint along the leading edge and camber side. The FAA inspector who responded to the scene observed a series of slash-type ground scars in the dirt and grass along the wreckage debris path.

The carburetor was impact damaged, and the airbox was separated. Rudder control continuity was established from the rudder horn to the rudder pedal bar, and elevator control continuity was established from the elevator to the cockpit control stick, which was partially separated. The aileron control cables were attached to each respective aileron and separated near the wing root; recovery personnel reported cutting the cables during recovery. The inboard ends of each control cable were attached to the cockpit control stick.

An autopsy and forensic toxicology were performed on the pilot by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, Decatur, Georgia. The autopsy report stated the cause of death was "generalized trauma." The toxicology report stated no ethanol and no drugs were detected.

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