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N9151C accident description

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Crash location 35.500000°N, 90.258333°W
Nearest city Joiner, AR
35.507860°N, 90.147037°W
6.3 miles away
Tail number N9151C
Accident date 08 Jun 2004
Aircraft type Air Tractor AT-502
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 8, 2004, approximately 1245 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502 single-engine agricultural airplane, N9151C, registered to a private individual and operated by Kuntz Aviation of Carthage, Mississippi, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering in the vicinity of Joiner, Arkansas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight originated from the Price Field Airport (80AR), near Joiner, Arkansas, approximately 0940.

Despite attempts made by the investigator-in-charge (IIC), a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Form (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) was not received from the operator.

The operator reported that the pilot was spraying various fields throughout the morning for Boll Weevil eradication. A review of the SATLOC GPS flight data card that was installed in the airplane, showed that the airplane had been spraying approximately two miles west of the accident site, and the proceeded to manuever in the general area for several minutes. The flight data record ended approximately two miles north of the accident site. There were no eyewitnesses to the accident.

According to information provided by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the accident site, the airplane impacted terrain approximately two miles east of a cotton field where the pilot was spraying. The airplane came to rest on its right side, on a magnetic heading of 125 degrees. Examination of the wreckage revealed that both wings were separated from the fuselage. The leading edge of the right wing was crushed aft to the main wing spar, and the outboard 3 feet of the right wing was torn open aft of the main wing spar. Both the flap and aileron remained attached to the right wing. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed aft of the main wing spar and was torn open along the span of the wing. The flap and aileron were separated from the left wing. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit control column aft to the empennage, and to the wing attach points.

The front of the fuselage structure and forward area of the cockpit were destroyed and the fuselage structure aft of the cockpit was buckled. Both main landing gears were separated from the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage with minor damage. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator were bent upward approximately 30-degrees outboard of the lift strut. The outboard tip of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator was bent upward. Flight control continuity was established aft to the empennage.

The engine was separated from the fuselage and was located approximately 45 feet beyond the main wreckage. The forward portion of the engine case displayed compression buckling and twisting opposite of the direction of propeller rotation. The propeller hub was separated from the engine. One propeller blade was separated from the hub assembly and the remaining two propeller blades remained attached to the hub assembly, both of which were curled aft. No pre-impact mechanical or structural anomalies were discovered at the accident site.

Weather at Millington Municipal Airport (NQA), near Millington, Tennessee, approximately 25 nautical miles southeast of the accident site, at 1250, reported winds from 190 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 91 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of Mercury.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance and altitude from terrain while maneuvering during an aerial application.

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