Friday, July 1, 2016

Aero Commander SR2 Thrush, N8870Q, Air Care Leasing LLC: Fatal accident occurred August 19, 2016 in Alamosa, Alamosa County, Colorado -and- incident occurred June 30, 2016 in Alamosa County, Colorado


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA328
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Friday, August 19, 2016 in Center, CO
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER S2R, registration: N8870Q
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 August 19, 2016, about 1155 mountain daylight time (MDT), an Aero Commander S2R, N8870Q, impacted terrain near Center, Colorado during an aerial application operation under unknown circumstances. The airplane was destroyed by post-impact fire. The commercial-rated pilot, and sole occupant onboard, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Air Care Leasing LLC and operated by Rocky Mountain Ag under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an agricultural flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Monte Vista Municipal Airport (KMVI), Monte Vista, Colorado.

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

Date: 30-JUN-16
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N8870Q
Aircraft Make: PITTS
Aircraft Model: S2
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Unknown
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Colorado


CENTER — A Monte Vista man flying a crop duster was killed when the plane went down in a barley field east of town Friday morning.

Dusty Claunch, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene, just south of Colorado 112, said Deputy Alamosa County Coroner Harry Alejo.

Alejo said witnesses reported that the plane stalled briefly upon making a turn and then crashed in the midst of its next pass over the field it was spraying.

The plane broke into flames upon crashing and ignited the barley field.

Alejo said two people pulled Claunch from the wreckage.

The fire was extinguished by fire departments from Center, Mosca and Hooper.

Claunch had spent the summer working as a pilot for a local agricultural company but was scheduled to return to his job as a deputy for the Alamosa County sheriff in the fall, according to a Colorado State Patrol news release.

He had previously worked for the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s office and was also the deputy coroner in that county, Alejo said.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been dispatched to investigate the accident.


ALAMOSA — A Monte Vista High School graduate died in a crop dusting accident Friday morning after his plane crash landed in a barley field just inside the Alamosa County line off Road 6 East and Highway 112.

The pilot, Dusty Claunch, 27, of Monte Vista, was deceased at the scene. Dusty had worked for Rio Grande Sheriff’s Office for several years and recently started working for Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office. He had taken the summer off to work for a local agricultural company as a pilot but was scheduled to go back with the sheriff’s office this fall.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, the call on the crash came into their dispatch center at 10:53 a.m. The crash landing also sparked a fire in the immediate area. The plane was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene. The flames from the crash also ignited the barley field that the plane had crashed into. 

Volunteer fire units from Center, Mosca-Hooper responded to the call. A CSP trooper reported the blaze was extinguished within about 15 minutes of arrival.

The Colorado State Patrol was assisted by units from the Alamosa Sheriff's Department, Rio Grande County Sheriff's Department, Saguache Sheriff's Department and the Center Police Department. The FAA and NTSB are enroute to the crash scene to conduct an investigation.


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