Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Air Tractor AT-802A, Airbourn Aviation LLC, N422BR: Accident occurred February 28, 2017 at Prentiss-Jefferson Davis County Airport (M43), Prentiss, Mississippi

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Jackson, Mississippi

Airbourn Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N422BR

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA164 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 28, 2017 in Prentiss, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 802, registration: N422BR
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.

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during takeoff in gusting tailwind conditions, as the tailwheel lifted, the airplane drifted to the left and off the runway. He aborted the takeoff and applied “maximum braking” and reverse thrust. During the runway excursion, the airplane impacted a ditch and spun 180°.

The pilot added that, as he exited the cockpit, he observed “dark smoke coming from the exhaust and cowling with smoldering burning grass.” He reported that he discharged the onboard fire extinguisher into the engine exhaust, main landing gear, and grass. He added that hydraulic fluid leaking from a severed brake line and fuel leaking from the cowl and lower right wing were feeding the postimpact fire. Shortly thereafter, the local volunteer fire department arrived and extinguished the fire.

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that the wind was from 180º at 15 knots, gusting to 28 knots. The closest automated weather observation station, located about 38 nautical miles from the accident site, recorded wind from 180° at 14 knots, gusting to 22 knots. The airplane took off from runway 30.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to take off with a gusting tailwind and his subsequent failure to maintain directional control.

The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during takeoff in gusting tailwind conditions, as the tailwheel lifted, the airplane drifted to the left and off the runway. He aborted the takeoff and applied "maximum braking" and reverse thrust. During the runway excursion, the airplane impacted a ditch and spun 180°. 

The pilot added that as he exited the cockpit, he observed "dark smoke coming from the exhaust and cowling with smoldering burning grass." He reported that he discharged the onboard fire extinguisher into engine exhaust, main landing gear, and grass. He added that hydraulic fluid leaking from a severed brake line and fuel leaking from the cowl and lower right wing were feeding the post-impact fire. Shortly thereafter, the local volunteer fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. 

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported the wind was 180º at 15 knots with gusts to 28 knots. The closest automated weather observation station, about 38 nautical miles from the accident location, recorded a wind of 180° at 14 knots, gusting to 22 knots. The airplane took off runway 30.

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