Friday, August 25, 2017

Air Tractor AT-401, N4532F, registered to and operated by Fitch's Flying Service: Accident occurred August 24, 2017 in Pearsall, Frio County, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Matthew Fitch dba Fitch's Flying Service

http://registry.faa.gov/N4532F

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA330
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Thursday, August 24, 2017 in Pearsall, TX
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 401, registration: N4532F
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 August 24, 2017, about 1000 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-401, N4532F, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Pearsall, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Fitch's Flying Service under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local aerial-application flight that departed at 0900 from McKinley Field Airport (T30), Pearsall, Texas.

The pilot reported that the airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power during a low-altitude spray run over a peanut field. He noted that the engine was surging and that he was unable to regain normal engine operation. He climbed to 100 feet above ground level, jettisoned the airplane's chemical load, but the engine operation did not improve. The pilot reported that he subsequently made a forced landing to a nearby field, during which the airplane nosed over after it encountered tall vegetation.

A postaccident examination of the engine revealed a fracture of the No. 9 cylinder head. The cylinder was removed and retained for an additional examination.

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