Saturday, May 14, 2016

Air Tractor AT502, Gerik AG LLC, N1546Z: Fatal accident occurred May 14, 2016 in West, McLennan County, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA181 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in West, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 502, registration: N1546Z
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.

After completing an aerial application flight, the commercial pilot was returning to the base airport over 15 nautical miles away when the airplane impacted terrain and was consumed by a postimpact fire. Although the wreckage was significantly fragmented and damaged by fire, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airframe or engine were noted that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed cellular tower guy wire and right wing damage that was consistent with the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the guy wires while intentionally flying at a low altitude in visual meteorological conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to see and avoid cellular tower guy wires. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to operate at low altitude.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 14, 2016, at 1345 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502 single-engine agricultural airplane, N1546Z, impacted terrain after striking cellular tower guy-wires near West, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gerik Ag LLC, Aquilla, Texas, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed the Hillsboro Municipal Airport (INJ), Hillsboro, Texas, at 1205.

According to local authorities, the operator, and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, while traveling north towards INJ after completing an aerial application operation, the airplane's right wing collided with two cellular tower guy-wires. The airplane impacted terrain and a post-impact fire consumed the airplane.

Several witnesses reported they observed the airplane flying at a low altitude. Two witness reported seeing "something fall from the airplane" and "the plane looked like it dropped something." 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 75, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on April 27, 2016, with the following limitations: Must wear corrective lenses and possess glasses for near and intermediate vision.

According to the operator, the pilot had accumulated 17,640 flight hours, and 248 hours in the accident airplane make and model.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 1992 Air Tractor AT-502, serial number 502-0180. The airplane was powered by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-34AG turboprop engine, rated at 750 horsepower, and equipped for agricultural operations. The airplane was issued a restricted category special airworthiness certificate on June 15, 1992.

According to the operator, the airplane underwent its most recent annual inspection on February 20, 2016, at a total airframe time of 10,515 hours. The engine had accumulated 22,712 total hours and 16,267 hours since overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1335, the INJ automated weather observing system (AWOS), located about 15 miles north of the accident site, reported the wind from 360 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 21 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 20 C, dew point 13 C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located about 650 feet northeast of the cellular tower in grass terrain. The main wreckage, which consisted of the fuselage, empennage, and wings displayed impact and thermal damage. The post-impact fire consumed the main wreckage and grass terrain to the southeast of the main wreckage. The wreckage distribution path was on a measured 50 degree heading. The initial ground impact mark was a shallow crater that contained the propeller hub with 2 blades and portions of the engine cowling. One propeller blade was separated and located about 30 feet to the northwest of the main wreckage. The cockpit was located about 45 feet from the initial ground impact mark. All major airplane components were located at the accident site.

The fuselage displayed thermal and impact damage. The forward fuselage and cockpit was fragmented, and the instrument panel was destroyed by fire. The seat frame was intact and the seatbelt/shoulder harness webbing was consumed by fire. The seatbelt buckle and shoulder harness connectors were found not buckled together. The airplane was not equipped with an inflatable pilot restraint system.

The right wing displayed thermal damage and the outboard two leading edge panels were separated. Portions of the right wing tip were located near the base of the cellular tower. The outboard end of the wing structure that remained with the main wreckage was bent aft about 60 degrees, consistent with an in-flight wire collision. The left wing displayed thermal and impact damage. The left aileron and flap remained partially attached the wing structure.

The empennage displayed thermal and impact damage. All flight control surfaces remained partially attached to their respective stabilizers.

Flight control continuity was partially established due to impact and thermal damage. Flap position could not be determined due to thermal and impact damage.

The engine displayed thermal and impact damage. The exhaust case and stacks displayed forward to aft crush damage. The engine was separated near the "D" flange, which separated the inter-stage baffle from the engine. The inter-stage baffle showed circumferential rubs and heat discoloration, consistent with contact between the compressor and power turbines.

The engine propeller flange remained bolted to the propeller hub and separated from the engine. Two propeller blades remained attached to the hub and one propeller blade was separated. The separated blade displayed chordwise scratches and leading edge damage. The blade tip was separated, and the blade was curled from leading to trailing edge.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to local authorities, the pilot was found about 60 feet from the main wreckage and outside of the fire consumed area. The pilot was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, Office of the Medical Examiner, Dallas, Texas. The listed cause of death was blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The tests were negative for all screened drugs and alcohol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SatLoc Global Positioning System (GPS)

The accident airplane contained a SatLoc GPS unit that was recovered from the accident site and sent to the NTSB vehicle recorders laboratory for data extraction. Due to the thermal and impact damage, no data was available for the accident flight. 

Tower Information

According to the cellular tower owner, the tower height was 246 feet above ground level (agl) and constructed in 1997. The tower was unpainted (metallic/steel color), and contained a medium intensity beacon and 3 side markers located at the top of the tower. Five guy wires supported tower on three sides.

The current aviation sectional chart listed the tower at 255 feet in height agl and 892 feet in height mean sea level.

FAA Guidance on Minimum Safe Altitudes 

14 CFR Part 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: 

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. 

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft. 

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. 

GERIK AG LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N1546Z

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Fort Worth AFW FSDO-19


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA181 

14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in West, TX
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 502, registration: N1546Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On May 14, 2016, at 1345 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502 single-engine agricultural airplane, N1546Z, impacted terrain after striking cellular tower guy-wires near West, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gerik Ag LLC, Aquilla, Texas, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed the Hillsboro Municipal Airport (INJ), Hillsboro, Texas, at an unknown time.


According to local authorities and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, while traveling north towards INJ, the airplane's right wing impacted the top two cellular tower guy-wires. The tower height was reported as 246 feet agl. The airplane impacted terrain approximately 400 yards from the tower and a post-impact fire consumed the airplane.


At 1335, the INJ automated weather observing system (AWOS), located about 15 miles north of the accident site, reported the wind from 360 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 21 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 20 C, dew point 13 C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.


Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.





GLEN ROSE, Texas (KWTX) Funeral services have been scheduled for a Grammy-nominated musician from Glen Rose who died when his crop duster crashed over the weekend north of the town of West.

The pilot of a crop-dusting plane that crashed over the weekend north of the town of West was a Grammy-nominated musician who had a long career as a singer and songwriter.

John Allen Seay, Jr., 75, of Glen Rose, died after his plane hit a wire on a cellphone tower and crashed at around 1:50 p.m. Saturday at 1155 Hvalenka Rd.

He was ejected from the plane.

Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Wiley Funeral Home at 504 Holden St. in Glen Rose.

A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Cross and Grave Ranch Family Cenetery.

Seay had a decades-long career as a singer/songwriter and occasional actor.

For much of his career, Seay performed under the name Johnny Sea.

According to Seay’s website, he was 17 when he recorded his first record in 1959.

At the age of 18, he joined the Louisiana Hayride, a radio and later television country music show broadcast from Shreveport, La.

Elvis Presley performed on the show and even made his first television appearance there.

Seay had several hits in the 1960’s, recording for six major labels.

In 1966, he released the song "Day For Decision" on Warner Brothers Records.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost to a collection of recordings by Edward R. Murrow.

In the late 1960’s, the singer began performing under his given name Johnny Seay again.

He had two more country hits for Columbia Records and was profiled in Life Magazine.

Seay spent his later years away from the spotlight, living as a cowboy on a ranch In Texas.

His family says he had more than 30 years of crop dusting experience and more than 18,000 hours of flying time.

He walked away from a crash in July 1983, his website says.

Seay’s daughter posted a message on the website that says, “Our hearts are completely broken. The greatest man I ever knew, died on the afternoon of Saturday, May 14th doing what he loved. He was in a plane crash while crop-dusting in West, TX. He was 75 years old.”

Seay leaves behind nine children and 14 grandchildren.


A crop-duster pilot from Glen Rose died in the crash of his aircraft at 1:49 p.m. Saturday near 1155 Hlavenka Road in West, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman said.

Senior Trooper D.L. Wilson identified the victim as John Allen Seay, 75. The airplane struck a guide wire on a power pole and went down, Wilson said.

He did not say whether the pilot died at the scene or if he was transported to a hospital. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates the cause of aircraft accidents, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Original article can be found here: http://www.wacotrib.com



WEST, TX (KWTX) Emergency crews were on the scene of a single-engine plane crash in the town of West Saturday afternoon that killed a 75-year-old pilot.

Officials said the victim, John Allen Seay Jr., of Glen Rose, was in a crop duster circling the air, when he struck a wire on a cell phone tower and crashed.

Seay was ejected from his plane and died at the scene.

The crash happened at 1:49 p.m., at 1155 Hvalenka Road.

Original article can be found here: http://www.kwtx.com








WEST, Texas (AP) - The pilot of a crop duster has died as his plane crashed in a Central Texas field and caught fire.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara tells television station KCEN the pilot was dead at the scene Saturday afternoon near West, about 20 miles north of Waco.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the plane clipped a guy wire for a cell phone tower, crashed and then ignited.

He says the FAA will investigate and that the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.

The name of the pilot hasn't been immediately released.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.12newsnow.com




WEST -- The pilot of a crop duster was killed as his plane crashed in West Saturday afternoon.

The pilot was identified as 75-year-old John Allen Seay of Glenn Rose, Texas. He died at the scene after he was ejected from the plane, according to McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said that the plane clipped a guide wire for a cell phone tower, causing it to crash and ignite a fire. Lunsford said that the FAA will investigate and that the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. 

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

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