Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Air Tractor Inc AT-402, N4555E: Accident occurred March 29, 2016 in Beyersville, Texas

http://registry.faa.gov/N4555E

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA San Antonio FSDO-17


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA139 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in Beyersville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT-402, registration: N4555E
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

Before conducting the aerial application flight, the pilot circled the application site four times in order to identify obstructions. He saw power line poles on the east and west sides of the field, but he did not see an older, unmarked power line pole in the middle of the field, nor the associated powerline that ran across the field. The pilot began the application, and, during the fourth pass, the right wing impacted the powerline. The pilot stated that it was a gray and hazy day, which made the power pole and line difficult to see, and he also stated that he was unfamiliar with the application site. The pilot reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain visual separation from the power line due to a lack of identifiable and contrasting features, which led to an inflight collision with the line while maneuvering in gray, hazy conditions.

On March 29, 2016, about 1730 central daylight time, an Air Tractor Inc AT-402, N4555E, stuck a wire/power line and impacted terrain during an aerial application of a field near Beyersville, Texas. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane was operated by Ranspot Flying Service under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight that was not operating on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the operator's private airstrip near Burlington, Texas about 1600.

The pilot stated that the accident flight was the second and last aerial application for the day. The pilot circled the last field to be sprayed four times looking for obstructions and saw powerline poles on the east and west sides of the field, but he did not see an older unmarked powerline pole in the middle of the field. He said that it was gray and hazy day which contributed to making the older powerline pole difficult to see. The pilot sprayed the field in a north/south direction and during the fourth spray pass, the airplane struck the older powerline pole with the right wing, began a right spiral descent, and impacted the ground in a level attitude. The pilot applied full left rudder in an attempt to stop the spin and impact the ground in a level attitude.


The pilot felt that with the haze and unfamiliarity of the field, another one or two circles of the field could have possibly led to his identifying the older powerline pole.




WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS - A pilot is expected to make a full recovery after crashing his crop duster in a field on FM 619 in Coupland, about 30 miles northeast of Austin.

Officials with Williamson County say the plane had 50 gallons of fungicide along with fuel that wasted in the field.

DPS troopers investigating the crash said at around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, the pilot clipped a utility pole, causing his plane to crash. He was able to escape the wreckage and walk some 100 yards to the street to get help.

Investigators said while a crash with this type of plane isn't unusual, the circumstances in this case stand out.   

"It happens from time to time, especially with the low-flying crop dusters, they go down every once in awhile," said Trooper Alexander Goch. "I hadn't seen one that came apart quite like this and somebody walked away so that's a good deal."

The 41-year-old pilot was taken to Seton Medical Center Williamson County in Round Rock where he was treated for a broken arm and received some stitches. His family told investigators he is expected to be okay.

A team of FAA investigators from San Antonio are expected to arrive at the crash site around 6 a.m. Wednesday to take over the investigation.

An environmental clean-up crew is working through the night to make sure the chemicals and fuel from the plane aren't washed into a nearby creek by the rain.

Story and video: http://www.kvue.com



WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A crop duster crashed in a field near Coupland Tuesday evening.

At around 5:55 p.m., the Department of Public Safety were called about the crash, which happened near the intersection of FM 619 and FM 1466, southeast of Taylor.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office says the pilot hit a telephone pole and made a hard landing, damaging the nose of the aircraft.

The pilot was walking around when emergency responders arrived to the crash scene. The chemicals on board were biodegradable and not hazardous.

Medics took the pilot to Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock. His condition was not immediately known.

Original article can be found here: http://kxan.com

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