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
National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Factual Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
WILLMAR AERIAL SPRAYING INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N7311X
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Minneapolis FSDO-15
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA399
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 27, 2016 in Bird Island, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2016
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 301, registration: N7311X
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.
According to the pilot, during a low altitude agricultural aerial application flight he observed a glitch in the satellite navigation system. He reported that he attempted to identify the glitch and his attention was focused inside the cockpit. The pilot recalled that while focused inside the cockpit, he heard and felt the corn stalks that he was spraying, strike the airplane. He reported that he then looked outside the cockpit and "observed a slight rise in terrain", he increased throttle and pulled back on the stick. However, the airplane descended into the cornfield, yawed to the right, impacted the ground and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, fuselage, and the empennage.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with airplane that would have prevented normal flight operations.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's diverted attention inside the cockpit and failure to maintain the airplane's altitude while maneuvering at a low altitude, resulting in an impact with terrain.