Thursday, August 17, 2017

Air Tractor AT-502B, N6082B: Fatal accident occurred August 16, 2017 in Philipp, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi -and- Accident occurred June 18, 2001 in Newport, Jackson County, Arkansas

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi
Air Tractor; Olney, Texas

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

Midway Air Service Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N6082B

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA279
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 16, 2017 in Philipp, MS
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT502, registration: N6082B
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 16, 2017, about 0620 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502B, N6082B, was substantially damaged when it impacted wooded terrain near Philipp, Mississippi. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by Midway Air Service as an aerial application flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local flight that departed from a private airstrip in Minter City, Mississippi, about 0610.

According to the operator, the airplane was supposed to spray a cornfield located about 5 miles southeast of the airstrip. When the airplane did not return, a search was initiated and the wreckage was located in wooded terrain about 3 miles southeast of the airstrip at 0930.

An approximate 50-foot debris path was observed oriented about a magnetic course of 130°. The debris path began with freshly cut tree branches at a descending angle and ended with the main wreckage, which was also oriented about 130° magnetic. The main wreckage came to rest upright and a strong odor of fuel was present at the accident site. An impression of the left wing leading edge was observed in the ground near the left wing, consistent with a nose-down vertical descent. Both wings were partially separated from the airframe. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to both wings and both wings exhibited crushing damage to the leading edges.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached while the horizontal stabilizer and elevator were partially separated. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the rudder through cables to the rudder pedals in the cockpit. Elevator control continuity was confirmed from the elevator through push-pull tubes to the cockpit area, where the push-pull tubes separated consistent with impact. Aileron control continuity was confirmed from both ailerons to their respective wing root, where the push-pull tubes separated consistent with impact. The elevator trim was connected by push-pull tubes and found in the full nose-down position; however, the preimpact position of the elevator trim could not be determined.

The cockpit was partially crushed and the four-point restraint system remained intact, with the exception of the right shoulder harness, which separated consistent with overload. The power lever and propeller control were found in the full forward position and the fuel valve was in the on position. Measurement of the flap actuator corresponded to a flaps retracted position. The altimeter indicated a negative number and 30.00 was displayed in the Kollsman window.

The propeller hub separated from the engine, but all three blades remained attached to the hub. One blade was bent aft with its tip separated and exhibited leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. Another blade exhibited s-bending and the third blade was bent aft. The propeller shaft exhibited a torsional separation. Partial teardown and examination of the engine revealed that the power turbine and compressor turbine exhibited rotational scoring consistent with contact from the power turbine vane and baffle. The first stage compressor blades exhibited tip rollover and some of the blades were also bent opposite the direction of rotation. Fuel was recovered from the fuel filter and fuel line to the flow divider. The fuel was consistent in odor to Jet A and absent of visible contamination.

The pilot, held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He did not possess an instrument rating. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on March 30, 2017. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,800 hours.

The single-seat, low-wing, fixed tailwheel airplane was manufactured in 1994 and issued an FAA restricted category airworthiness certificate. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-34, 783-shaft horsepower engine, equipped with a three-blade Hartzell propeller. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on March 30, 2017. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 11,409 hours since new. The airplane had flown an additional 288.6 hours from the time of the annual inspection, until the accident.

Greenwood-Leflore Airport (GWO), Greenwood, Mississippi was located about 18 miles southeast of the accident site. The recorded weather at GWO, at 0641, was: wind from 210° at 5 knots, visibility 6 statute miles in mist; overcast ceiling at 400 ft; temperature 24° C; dew point 23° C, altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

A GPS unit was recovered from the wreckage and 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 eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.



Michael Horton wasn’t just a valued employee to crop-duster operator Timmy Jones. He was like a member of the family.

Read more here:  http://tallahatchienews.ms

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Registered Owner: Ellis Flying Service Inc
Operator: Ellis Flying Service Inc

NTSB Identification: FTW01LA147
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, June 18, 2001 in Newport, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/2001
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502B, registration: N6082B
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During takeoff from a grass airstrip behind another agricultural airplane of the same type, the agricultural airplane encountered wake turbulence. The pilot turned the airplane to the left to "try and get out of it." The airplane's left wing and left main landing gear struck the ground, the airplane bounced on its right wing, and landed on its empennage. Subsequently, the airplane came to rest upright in a field. The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented if he had waited "about one more minute" before taking off.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
the loss of control during takeoff initial climb as a result of encountering wake turbulence due to the pilot's failure to recognize the hazard and delay the takeoff.

On June 18, 2001, at 2000 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502B agricultural airplane, N6082B, was substantially damaged following an encounter with wake turbulence during initial takeoff climb near Newport, Arkansas. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Ellis Flying Service, Inc., of Newport, Arkansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that he was attempting to takeoff to the south from a grass airstrip behind another AT-502B, when shortly after rotation, his airplane encountered wake turbulence. The pilot turned the airplane to the left to "try and get out of it." The airplane's left wing and left main landing gear struck the ground, the airplane bounced on its right wing, and landed on its empennage. Subsequently, the airplane came to rest upright in a bean field. The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented if he had waited "about one more minute" before taking off. 

The pilot reported that the winds were calm at the time of the accident.

According to the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, both wings and the empennage sustained structural damage.

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