Sunday, April 11, 2021

Air Tractor AT-602, N419TW: Accident occurred April 21, 2020 in El Campo, Wharton County, Texas










Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Air Tractor; Olney, Texas
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Gatineau
Pratt & Whitney Canada; Longueuil

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: El Campo, Texas 
Accident Number: CEN20CA158
Date & Time: April 21, 2020, 11:15 Local 
Registration: N419TW
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT 602 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

Analysis

The pilot was landing at a remote agricultural airstrip for the first time. While on the final approach to land to the south and just before touchdown, the pilot saw a ground spray rig maneuver toward the airstrip. The airplane touched down uneventfully. The pilot added that the ground spray rig then "pulled out on me, not thinking it could be on the road that went around the end of the airstrip." The pilot incorrectly judged that the ground spray rig was crossing the runway and incorrectly believed that a runway incursion might occur. The pilot applied full power, but due to the turbine engine's lag in accelerating, the pilot realized that he was "not going to have enough time" to perform a go-around. The pilot reduced the power and attempted to stop the airplane before he ran out of available runway. The airplane impacted a perimeter fence and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, the right aileron, and the engine mount. The operator reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's misjudgment of a ground spray rig's position and his incorrect belief that a runway incursion might occur, which resulted in the pilot attempting and then aborting a go-around, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with a fence.

Findings

Personnel issues Perception - Pilot
Environmental issues Ground equipment - Awareness of condition
Environmental issues Fence/fence post - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion
Landing-landing roll Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 None 
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 27, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 24, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 6838.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 450 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N419TW
Model/Series: AT 602 No Series 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted (Special)
Serial Number: 602-1251
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: December 18, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 12500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 39 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Turbo prop
Airframe Total Time: 2445.1 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney Canada
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-60AG
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 1050 Horsepower
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Operator Designator Code: T0GG

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KARM,100 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 16:15 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 99°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2100 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 110° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: El Campo, TX (8TE8)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: El Campo, TX (None)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 11:10 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private Agricultural Airstrip None 
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 140 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: 18 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2580 ft / 110 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 29.318611,-96.402496(est)