Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Grumman G164D, Farm Air Flying Service Inc., N8267K: Fatal accident occurred May 21, 2012 in Nicolaus, California

http://registry.faa.gov/N8267K

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA220
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, May 21, 2012 in Nicolaus, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/2014
Aircraft: GRUMMAN G 164D, registration: N8267K
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Witnesses saw the airplane make a low pass across a field, then make a hard banking turn back toward the field, and subsequently impact the ground. Impact damage indicated that the airplane struck the field in a nose-down, wings-level attitude consistent with a loss of control. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control during a low-altitude maneuver.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 21, 2012, about 0637 Pacific daylight time (PDT), a Grumman G-164D, N8267K, impacted terrain during an agricultural application flight near Nicolaus, California. Farm Air Flying Service, Inc., was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local agricultural flight departed from Farm Air Service facility, Sacramento, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses saw the airplane make a low pass across a field, make a hard banking turn to return towards the field, and impact the ground.

The operator reported that the pilot had departed from their base of operations 10 miles south of the accident site to apply 1,000 lbs of fertilizer to a rice field.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest right side up, and the nose of the airplane was partially submerged in the rice field. The airplane impacted the rice field in a nose-low wings level attitude.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Sutter County Coroner completed an autopsy on May 22, 2012. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma. The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot.

Analysis of the specimens contained no findings for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles.The report contained the following findings for tested drugs: 16.6 (ug/ml) acetaminophen detected in blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Investigators examined the wreckage at Plain Parts, Sacramento, on September 27, 2012.

The airframe and engine were examined with no mechanical anomalies identified that would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane was equipped with a Satloc M3 GPS data logging system. The unit was recovered and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder lab for downloading. A factual report is attached to the docket. The download shows the track of the accident airplane during the 13-minute flight as it was applying the fertilizer to the rice field. No abnormal tracks were noted prior to the accident.




The widow and two sons of a crop-duster pilot killed in a Sutter County crash have sued Northrop Grumman Corp. and Yuba-Sutter Aviation Inc. for wrongful death.

Georgette Brown filed her lawsuit last week in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Her husband, Nathaniel A. Brown, 50, died May 21, 2012, when his G-146D Northrop Grumman plane plunged into a flooded rice field west of Highway 70 near East Nicolaus.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleged the plane had "inherent design and manufacturing defects ... (which) would be difficult to detect by ordinary consumers and users."

The suit also alleged the defendants failed to properly maintain the aircraft.

John F. Neal Jr., chief executive officer of Yuba-Sutter Aviation Inc., said on Thursday he had no comment.

Brown was banking south at about 6:30 a.m., preparing to make another spreading run of zinc fertilizer over a field on the south side of Nicolaus Avenue, when his plane dove into the rice field on the north side of Nicolaus, the Sutter County Sheriff's Department said at the time.

Two days after the suit was filed, the National Transportation Safety Board posted its probable cause report on the accident, which occurred 13 minutes into the flight.

"Witnesses saw the airplane make a low pass across a field, then make a hard banking turn back toward the field, and subsequently impact the ground. Impact damage indicated that the airplane struck the field in a nose-down, wings-level attitude consistent with a loss of control," the NTSB said in its report.

"Post-accident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation."

The NTSB cited the "pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during a low-altitude maneuver."

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