Saturday, October 29, 2016

Air Tractor AT-502B, Wilbur Ellis Air LLC, N8525G: Accident occurred October 27, 2016 in Hereford, Deaf Smith County, Texas

Wilbur Ellis Air, LLC:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lubbock FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA027
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Thursday, October 27, 2016 in Hereford, TX
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 502B, registration: N8525G
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 27, 2016, about 1235 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502B, single-engine airplane, N8525G, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain while maneuvering near Hereford, Texas. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Wilbur Ellis Air, LLC; Huron, South Dakota; as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 agricultural application flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had not been filed. 

The pilot reported that that he was in a right turn and flying a circular swath to "trim-up" on the outside edges of a center-pivot irrigated cotton field when the right wingtip "got too far into the cotton crop" and control was lost. The airplane impacted terrain and cartwheeled, but came to rest upright in a partially nose-up attitude. The propeller, and engine were impact separated and there was substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, tail surfaces, both wing spars, and all control surfaces. There was a fuel leak at the scene but there was no postimpact fire. A witness called 9-1-1, and emergency responders arrived quickly and assisted the pilot to exit the wreckage.

At 1235 the KHRX Automated Surface Observation System at Hereford, Texas, about 5 miles northeast from the accident location, reported wind from 180 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear of clouds, temperature 24 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 10 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 30.33 inches of mercury.

AIRCRAFT: 2005 Air Tractor 502B, N8525G S/N: 502B-2575

ENGINE – Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34AG S/N: PCE-PH0325

PROPELLER – Hartzell Propeller, Inc. HC-B3TN-3D/T10282NS+4 Hub Model: HC-B3TN-3D

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:   5711.5 HOBBS


AIRFRAME:        5711.5 HOBBS         

OTHER EQUIPMENT:        See photos
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Aircraft made a turn and wing contacted ground causing it to “cartwheel” and crash.


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