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N996QC accident description

North Dakota map... North Dakota list
Crash location 48.036111°N, 99.757222°W
Nearest city Esmond, ND
48.032784°N, 99.765130°W
0.4 miles away
Tail number N996QC
Accident date 21 Jul 2008
Aircraft type Grumman G-164D
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 21, 2008, at 1230 central daylight time, a Grumman G-164D, N996QC, operated by Erickson Aerial Spraying LLC, collided with the terrain following a loss of control while taking off from a 4,000 foot long, grass private airstrip in Esmond, North Dakota. The pilot received minor injuries. The airplane received substantial damage to all four wings and the fuselage. The aerial application flight was operating under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he gradually added power during takeoff to minimize the prop wash which tended to suck the hopper door open allowing the chemical load to spray out of the hopper and onto the windshield. The pilot reported the airplane became airborne in ground effect with one-third of the runway distance remaining. He stated that due to the wind and nearby trees, the air was "mushy" and the airplane settled onto the airstrip. The pilot stated the airplane became airborne once again with 300 to 500 feet of runway remaining. The pilot began to dump the chemical load when he reached the end of the airstrip; however, the airplane began to settle toward the ground again. The left spray boom contacted a wheat crop and the airplane cartwheeled into the field.

The pilot purchased the airplane approximately 3 weeks prior to the accident. He stated the hopper door seal was leaking so he had the seal replaced and the door clamps adjusted which helped a little. He stated he realized the door needed extra clamps on the forward and aft ends to keep it from opening. He stated he had one clamp which they put on the aft end of the door because it would not fit on the forward end. The pilot had an additional clamp on order for the forward end.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's delay in advancing the throttle during the takeoff which resulted in inadequate airspeed and the subsequent stall/mush. Factors associated with the accident were the leaking hopper, the pilot continuing to operate the airplane with the known deficiency, and the pilot's delay in dumping the chemical load.

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