Monday, June 6, 2016

Rockwell S-2R Thrush Commander, Faunce Ag Aviation, N4191X: Fatal accident occurred June 06, 2016 in De Smet, Benewah County, Idaho

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:   https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
Honeywell Aerospace; Phoenix, Arizona 

Gregory R. Faunce



http://registry.faa.gov/N4191X

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA120 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, June 06, 2016 in De Smet, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2017
Aircraft: ROCKWELL S2R, registration: N4191X
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During an aerial application flight to apply fungicide to a wheat field, the pilot was flying the airplane from west to east making a spray pass along the south edge of the field, which was bordered by powerlines. About 660 ft. from the west end of the field where the pilot started his spray pass, a set of guy wires originated from the top of one of the utility poles that supported the powerlines, extended about 65 ft. into the field, and ran directly perpendicular to and in line with the airplane's flight path. However, the pilot failed to maintain clearance with the guy wires, and the airplane's outboard right wing impacted the wires. The airplane subsequently veered right and impacted the powerlines, crossed a road that bordered the field on the south, and collided with a stand of trees. The airplane came to rest within the stand of trees about 490 ft. southeast of the initial impact point with the guy wires. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Given that the sun was very close to the horizon and would have been almost directly in the pilot's eyes as he attempted to avoid the guy wires, it is likely that sun glare contributed to his difficulty in maintaining clearance from the wires. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate visual lookout, which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance from guy wires during an aerial application flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's reduced ability to see the guy wires due to sun glare.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 6, 2016, about 0745 Pacific daylight time, a Rockwell International S-2R restricted-category agricultural airplane, N4191X was substantially damaged during a collision with guy wires, powerlines, and trees while engaged in an aerial application flight about 3 nautical miles (nm) west of De Smet, Idaho. The airplane was owned and operated by Faunce Ag Aviation Inc., Tekoa, Washington. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Tekoa at about 0700. 

According to a witness whose residence was located about 700 ft. east of the accident site, she was watching the pilot spray the field that was located immediately north of and across the road from her house. The pilot was making spray passes in the west and east direction, parallel to a powerline that bordered the south side of the field. The witness stated that she saw the airplane flying south along the west side of the field; the airplane turned left until it was heading east and began a spray pass on the south edge of the field, next to the powerline. The witness reported that, shortly thereafter, she observed downed powerline wires, followed by the sound of the airplane's impact with terrain. The witness stated that she did not see the airplane collide with the wires. 

In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the owner of the property being sprayed stated that the pilot had been applying a fungicide to the wheat field when the accident occurred. The property owner stated that the pilot had sprayed this field for the past 25 years, that he thought the pilot was very familiar with the environment, and that the pilot had never had any issues while spraying the field in the past.

In an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, a family member of the pilot who was familiar with the operation reported that the accident occurred on the pilot's fourth load of the morning. The amount of chemical the pilot departed with was not determined during the investigation. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating and a second-class airman medical certificate issued on January 12, 2016, with the following limitations: "Not valid for night flying or by color signal control. Not valid for any class after January 31, 2017."

According to operator-supplied records and the pilot's airman medical application, at the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated 10,109 hours flight time of which, 7,124 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot's personal flight logbook was not provided to the IIC during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear, tailwheel-equipped airplane, serial number 1956R, was manufactured in 1974. It was powered by a Garrett TPE331-6-252M engine, serial number P-03069C, rated at 715 horsepower. The most recent annual inspection was performed on November 6, 2015, at a total airframe time of 9,944 hours and an engine total time of 9,888.7 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 167.1 flight hours since its last inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0753, the weather reporting facility at the Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport (PUW), Pullman, Washington, located about 24 nm south of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 23° C, dew point 13° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches of mercury.

At the time of the accident, the sun was about 13.8° above the horizon. Additionally, the sun's lateral position was about 20° to the left of the heading of the airplane's eastbound spray run over the field.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On the day following the accident, the NTSB IIC and the FAA inspector surveyed the accident site. Physical evidence showed that the airplane initially impacted a set of guy wires about 660 ft. west of where the airplane entered the field on its spray run: the guy wires were directly in line with and perpendicular to the airplane's flight path. The guy wires were secured to the top of one of the utility poles that supported the powerline bordering the south side of the field. The guy wires descended to the ground on about a 45° angle and were anchored in the field about 65 ft. north of the utility pole. After impacting the guy wires, the airplane collided with and went through the powerline wires, crossed a county road, and impacted a stand of fir trees. The airplane came to rest within the stand of trees about 490 ft. southeast of the initial impact point with the guy wires. An outboard section of the airplane's right wing, about 30 inches in length, was located about 160 ft. east-southeast of the first point of impact with the guy wires. Additionally, yellow and black paint chips, which were consistent with the wing's paint scheme, were located about 100 ft. southeast of the guy wires. 

The airplane was severely fragmented and deformed by impact forces. With the exception of about 7 ft. of the inboard section of the forward spar, the right wing was observed separated from the fuselage and destroyed. Additionally, the left wing was observed completely separated from the fuselage and destroyed by impact forces as was the aft fuselage from the cockpit to the forward section of the empennage. The entire empennage separated due to impact forces and was located about 20 ft. south of the main wreckage. The engine remained attached to the fuselage at its mounts. The cockpit was crushed and deformed. With the exception of the outboard section of the right wing, the entire wreckage was located within about a 50-ft radius of the main wreckage site.

No catastrophic mechanical anomalies were noted with the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Office of the Medical Examiner, Spokane, Washington. The cause of death was attributed to blunt force trauma.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol; ibuprofen was detected in cavity blood. Testing for cyanide was not performed.

Ibuprofen is a medication in the nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug class that is commonly used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation. 

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA120
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, June 06, 2016 in De Smet, ID
Aircraft: ROCKWELL S2R, registration: N4191X
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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 6, 2016, about 0745 Pacific daylight time, a Rockwell International S-2R, restricted category agricultural airplane, N4191X, was substantially damaged follow a collision with powerlines and subsequent impact with trees while engaged in aerial application about 3 nautical miles west of De Smet, Idaho. The airplane was owned and operated by Faunce Ag Aviation Inc., Tekoa, Washington. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated in accordance 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Tekoa at an undetermined time. 

According to a witness whose residence is located about 800 feet east of the accident site, she was watching the pilot spray the field located immediately north and across the road from her house. The witness stated that he observed the airplane banking and coming around for its next pass on the south side of the field to the east, which was bordered by powerlines. The witness reported that shortly thereafter she observed downed powerlines, followed by the sound of the airplane's impact with terrain. The witness revealed that she did not actually see the airplane collide with the wires.

A National Transportation Safety Board aviation accident investigator arrived at the accident site about 1845 on the day of the event. The investigator's initial assessment of the accident site revealed that the airplane had collided with a four-strand set of powerlines, which ran parallel and bordered the south side of the field that was being sprayed. It was further revealed that subsequent to colliding with the powerlines while heading east, the airplane then impacted various trees on the south side of the road that ran parallel to the powerlines on a heading of about 140 degrees. As a result of the collision with the trees and impact forces, the airplane came to rest partially on its left side on a heading of about 320 degrees, and about 300 feet south of the powerlines. There was no postcrash fire. 

The airplane was recovered to a secured location for further examination.





TENSED, Idaho -  The Benewah County Sheriff confirms a crop duster pilot was killed Monday morning when his plane went down near Tensed, Idaho.

Sheriff Dave Resser says the pilot was spraying near Desmet Road at 7:45 Monday morning when he failed to pull up in time and hit power lines.

Those lines are now covering part of Desmet Road and crews are working to clear the road and get traffic moving in the area again.

The FAA is on the way to the scene.

The pilot who was killed is Greg Faunce, a longtime agricultural pilot in the area. He was also once the Tekoa Fire Chief.

Faunce leaves behind a wife, three daughters and numerous grandchildren.

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



DE SMET, Idaho – The Benewah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a man is dead following a crop dusting plane crash in De Smet on Monday morning.

According to officials, the pilot was spraying when he approached power lines and was unable to move out of the way. His plane got snagged in the lines and wound up in nearby trees.

The pilot, who has not yet been identified, was thrown from the plane and died at the scene. The crash happened around 7:45 a.m. on De Smet Road about 2.5 miles outside of town.

The FAA will be sending investigators to the scene.

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

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