THOMPSON FLYING SERVICE LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N20361
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Springfield FSDO-19
Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms
Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA313
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Sunday, June 12, 2016 in Cairo, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2016
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 802, registration: N20361
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the takeoff roll, the airplane "pulled hard to the left." He recalled that he applied full right rudder pedal and realized that he was approaching the end of the runway. He reported that he applied both brakes, he applied reverse thrust, the airplane exited the runway to the left and ground looped. The pilot reported that he did not confirm that the tailwheel pin was locked, prior to the takeoff roll. He further reported that in the future, he will confirm that the tailwheel is locked by working the tail back and forth, and he will check the tailwheel for inhibiting buildup of fertilizer, grease and dirt that would prevent tailwheel pin actuation. The right wing sustained substantial damage.
Per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Inspector that arrived shortly after the accident occurred, the airplane was dispersing fertilizer as part of a 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 operation. The prolonged use of fertilizer coupled with dirt, will inhibit the tailwheel pin from locking in place. A photograph was taken shortly after the accident by the FAA Inspector revealing a canted tailwheel. The FAA Inspector reported that the mechanic that performed the inspection on the tailwheel assembly noted that the assembly was, "gummed up with fertilizer and the pin was not in place at the time of the ground loop.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to ensure that the tailwheel pin was in the locked position prior to the takeoff roll, resulting in a runway excursion, ground loop, and substantial damage.