Thursday, March 1, 2018

Air Tractor Inc AT-402B, N38HT, registered to and operated by United States Department of Agriculture / Agricultural Research Service: Accident occurred August 02, 2017 at San Angelo Regional Airport (KSJT), Tom Green County, Texas

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: San Angelo, TX
Accident Number: GAA17CA469
Date & Time: 08/02/2017, 1835 CDT
Registration: N38HT
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 402
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 


The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll in crosswind conditions, the airplane began an un-commanded slow turn to the right. He added that he applied left brake and left rudder, but the airplane continued to the right. Subsequently the airplane ground looped to the right, the left main landing gear collapsed, and the left wing impacted the ground.

The left wing 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 automated weather observation system on the airport reported, about 10 minutes after the accident, that the wind was from 90° at 9 knots. The pilot landed on runway 36. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll in crosswind conditions.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Crosswind - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Other weather encounter
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing gear collapse

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 64, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Glider; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/06/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/30/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6960 hours (Total, all aircraft), 240 hours (Total, this make and model), 6682 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 88 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AIR TRACTOR INC
Registration: N38HT
Model/Series: AT 402 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 402B-1011
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/12/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9170 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 543.3 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt and Whitney
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-27
Registered Owner: USDA/ARS
Rated Power: 680 hp
Operator: USDA/ARS
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSJT, 1916 ft msl
Observation Time: 2251 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 143°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2900 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 19°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 9000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 60°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: San Angelo, TX (SJT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: San Angelo, TX (SJT)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1625 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1918 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8049 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  31.356667, -100.499167 (est)

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