Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cessna A188 Agwagon 300, N3547Q: Fatal accident occurred September 16, 2016 in Alapaha, Berrien County, Georgia


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 16, 2016 in Alapaha, GA
Aircraft: CESSNA A188, registration: N3547Q
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 September 16, 2016, about 0915 eastern daylight time, a Cessna A188, N3547Q, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Alapaha, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the aerial application flight. The flight originated at Berrien County Airport (4J2), Nashville, Georgia, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137.

According to an assistant who routinely supported the pilot during ground operations, the pilot planned to complete three aerial application flights the day of the accident. The first flight departed 4J2 at 0715 and returned about 1 hour and 15 minutes later. The ground assistant reported that the pilot stated, "everything seems good," and they began preparations for the second flight. The ground assistant loaded about 150 to 160 gallons of insecticide into the airplane and the pilot "topped off" the single fuel tank from his personal trailer-based fuel supply. The pilot put on his shoulder harness and flight helmet, and the airplane then departed at 0855.

According to two witnesses, they each reported that they heard the airplane "flying back and forth" near their separate properties about 0915. They both further reported that the engine noise went silent and subsequently heard the sound of an impact. The witnesses were not co-located, but both reported they were within 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the accident site at the time of the accident. Neither witness observed the airplane in flight.

The airplane was found in an upright position in an open plowed field in the vicinity of 31 degrees, 26.042 minutes north latitude, 083 degrees, 10.443 minutes west longitude. The field in which the airplane was found was just north of the field being sprayed.

The wreckage path, oriented along a 300-degree magnetic heading, commenced with broken branches, an estimated 30 feet above the ground, from trees bordering the two fields. There was then a ground scar about 60 feet beyond the trees, and about 20 feet beyond that was the separated, two-bladed metal propeller. The airplane came to rest about 20 feet beyond the propeller, heading the opposite direction, about 120 degrees magnetic. There were no ground scars between the initial ground scar and the airplane's final location.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces or their remnants.

The fuselage exhibited impact and fire damage; however, there was no evidence of fire in flight. The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The right wing was found twisted forward of its normal position, the fuselage was canted to the right just forward of the firewall. The empennage displayed metal tearing to the right, all of which were consistent with the airplane having been in a left spin at initial ground impact. The separated empennage control surfaces were found under the rear fuselage.

Both flaps were found in an extended position. The flap handle, which was connected directly to the flaps, was found in a near-vertical position, past the flaps 20-degrees down position; however, the actual position of both the flaps and the handle prior to the initial impact could not be ascertained. The left fixed main landing gear was collapsed upward under the wing, and the right fixed main landing was separated from the wing.

Further examination of the cockpit revealed that the throttle control lever was found about 1/3 forward (from idle). The propeller control lever was found in the forward position (full rpm). The mixture control was found pulled aft (toward idle-cut-off), about 1 inch. The fuel ON/OFF valve was found in the ON position.

A four-point lever lock style buckle was identified latched with the shoulder harness buckle ends engaged in the lever lock. The instrument panel was consumed by the postimpact fire. A fire-damaged agricultural global positioning system was found mounted in the cockpit and was retained to attempt data extraction.

One propeller blade exhibited an aft bend, while the other remained straight. The propeller blade with the aft bend exhibited chordwise scratching from the mid-point to the tip of the propeller, while the straight blade only displayed chordwise scratches at the propeller tip.

The engine exhibited thermal damage. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. Thumb compression and suction were attained on all cylinders when the propeller flange was rotated. All twelve spark plugs were examined with no anomalies observed. Each magneto was removed and rotated manually; spark was observed at each individual ignition lead. The engine driven fuel pump drive coupling was intact and no anomalies were found when examined. The oil filter screen was removed from the oil pump housing and no contaminants were found.

The fuel manifold was examined; the filter screen was clear of debris and no fuel was present. The six individual fuel injectors were found to also be absent of debris. The throttle body/metering unit was found to contain debris, and the screen filter was damaged but remained inside the filter chamber. The fuel throttle/metering unit was retained for further examination.

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

ALAPAHA, GA (WALB) -   Officials in Berrien County and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating a plane crash that left one man dead.

Nashville native, Jason Watson, was flying the plane when it crashed. 

It was a sad scene, as people kept driving by to look at the wreckage and briefly speak with WALB about the pilot. 

Some individuals said they heard the plane crash Friday morning and felt helpless when they got over to the scene. 

It was just before 9:30 in the morning when people working and living on the other side of a fence heard a crop duster buzzing over head.  

A normal sound that quickly made a turn for the worst. 

"It went blank. There wasn't no noise of the plane and you couldn't hear the motor running," explained witness James Davis.

"Five to ten seconds later, that's when I heard a boom. Then I seen the smoke. Then I rushed over here," said witness Ray Heath. 

Just moments after hearing the crash, people quickly headed over to help the pilot of the plane.

"I got there and I was expecting to see somebody standing outside the plane watching the plane burn, but it wasn't like that when I crossed the fence," said Davis. "Starting off I said, no I don't see him. I thought maybe he's out here somewhere, ya know. Sure enough, I rounded the plane and I was like, the pilot's in the plane, he's no longer, no longer alive."  

Watson did not survive. 

Davis said that it's a reminder of how dangerous working in the agriculture industry can be.

"Anything to do with agriculture is so dangerous," explained Davis.

The crash is still under investigation, but officials said they believe it could be mechanical. 

As for the pilot, friends, family and co-workers said Watson will not be forgotten. 

"I really hate it for him and his family. He was a really good guy. A really nice guy," said Davis.

"It's a horrible event. Our heart goes out to the family and our prayers are with them," said Sheriff Ray Paulk. 

And eyewitnesses said that it's a chilling memory they will never forget. 

"I don't think I'll ever un-see it," said Davis. 

The crash is still under investigation and WALB will continue to bring you new details as we get them. 

Story and video:

ALAPAHA — The pilot of a crop-dusting plane was killed Friday in a crash in a rural Berrien County field, according to a witness.

The plane's pilot, Jason Watson, 31, of Nashville, was killed in the crash, said Berrien County Sheriff Ray Paulk.

The sheriff said the crash occurred after 9 a.m. Friday.

James Davis of Alapaha was working on peanut equipment in a field off Daniel Griffin Road around 9:15 a.m. when he heard the plane's engine quit.

"I felt a 'thump' and heard the crash," he said.

He and a friend who lives nearby, Ray Heath, jumped a fence and ran to the crash site, where they found one occupant in the plane.

"He was already dead," Davis said.

Berrien County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene.

ALAPAHA, GA (WALB) -  The identity of the man killed in a plane crash this morning has been released.

Jason Watson, 31, was the pilot of the crop duster airplane. 

The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. near 1130 Daniel Griffin Road.

The FAA will be investigating the crash.

Some witnesses said they heard the plane make a sputtering sound and go silent.

Officials said this is leading them to believe it could have been a mechanical issue. However, they can't confirm that just yet. 

"Starting off I said, no I don't see him. I thought maybe he's out here somewhere, ya know. Sure enough, I rounded the plane and I was like, the pilot's in the plane, he's no longer, no longer alive," said witness James Davis.

The cause of this crash is still under investigation right now.


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