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N357CA accident description

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Tail numberN357CA
Accident dateJuly 10, 2009
Aircraft typeAyres Corporation S2R-T34
LocationHertford, NC
Near 36.278611 N, -76.481667 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On July 10, 2009, about 1930 eastern daylight time, an Ayres Corporation S2R-T34, N357CA, registered to Craft Air Services LLC, operated by Craft Air Service, Inc., crashed in a cornfield near Craig Craft Airport (86NC), Hertford, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 other work use flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial certificated pilot was killed. The flight originated from 86NC about 1905.

The operator reported he flew the accident airplane earlier that day, performing spray passes, putting out water. The only discrepancy he noted was related to the spray nozzles, which were adjusted.

Before the accident flight departed, the pilot filled the left fuel tank with Jet A, and added 225 gallons of water to the hopper tank. A witness reported the departure appeared normal and the accident pilot proceeded to make a spray pass over a cornfield located adjacent to the runway. The pilot then proceeded across the street to a large open area without nearby obstructions, and was observed making spray runs. The operator, who was airborne in another airplane spraying chemical near the approach end of the runway at 86NC, noticed the accident pilot returning to 86NC, and asked the pilot if he was landing. The accident pilot responded that he wanted to go back and make a few more passes. The operator reported that approximately 2 to 3 minutes later, he noted what appeared to be rising smoke and simultaneously heard a ground crewmember calling on the radio to the accident pilot, but there was no response. The operator flew his airplane towards the area of the smoke and noted the airplane was inverted in a cornfield. He advised his ground crew to call 911 and flew to 86NC, where he got into a vehicle and drove to the crash site.

Preliminary examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector revealed no evidence of a postcrash or in-flight fire. The accident site was located .97 nautical mile north-northeast from the approach end of runway 22. Examination of the airplane, after it was uprighted, by an FAA airworthiness inspector, revealed flight control continuity was confirmed for roll, pitch, and yaw. Two global positioning system (GPS) units located in the wreckage were retained for readout by the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Division, Washington, DC. The airplane was recovered and secured for further examination.

The accident flight was the pilot’s first flight in the accident make and model airplane, though the operator reported he had previously received training in another agricultural type airplane. FAA records indicated the pilot’s total flight time was 10,800 hours as of January 27, 2009.

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