Friday, July 13, 2018

Air Tractor AT-602, owned and operated by D-GER LLC, N8508P: Fatal accident occurred July 11, 2018 in Wheatley, St. Francis County, Arkansas

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Wheatley, AR
Accident Number: CEN18FA263
Date & Time: 07/11/2018, 0630 CDT
Registration: N8508P
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-602
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On July 11, 2018, about 0630 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-602, N8508P, was destroyed by ground impact and a post-crash fire when it impacted a wooded area about 1.5 miles north of Wheatley, Arkansas. The pilot received fatal injuries. The airplane was owned and operated by D-GER LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial-application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The airplane departed about 0600 from the Frank Federer Memorial Airport (M36), Brinkley, Arkansas, on a local flight.

A witness reported that the pilot had loaded the airplane with 400 gallons of chemical and had full fuel tanks. He stated that the pilot was planning to spray a 40-acre field that the pilot owned, which was about 5 nautical miles (nm) from M36. No one witnessed the accident. A witness reported seeing fire and smoke about 0630, and the airplane wreckage was found by first responders.

The aircraft wreckage was found in a wooded area between 2 open fields located about 1/3 mile to the west of the field that was being treated. A gully, approximately 6 ft deep, ran northeast-to-southwest through the area. The debris path was over 200 ft in length on a magnetic heading of 280°. The initial impact point was a shallow ground scar which had aircraft components from the belly of the aircraft. As the ground scars entered the wooded area, the debris path consisted of wing and empennage components. The fuselage was found on the north side of the gully about 120 ft from the initial impact point. The engine was separated from the fuselage and was found in the gully below the fuselage. Most of the separated fuselage components were found in the gully to the southwest. All the control surfaces were found at the scene.

At 0553, the surface weather observation at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT), Little Rock, Arkansas, located 56 nm from the accident site was: wind 240° at 3 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 200 ft; temperature 24° C; dew point 23° C; and altimeter 30.03 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N8508P
Model/Series: AT-602
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: D-Ger LLC
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: LIT, 266 ft msl
Observation Time: 0553 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 56 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 200 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Brinkley, AR (M36)
Destination: Brinkley, AR (M36) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  34.946944, -91.114167

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

Wheatley Fire Chief Chad McLain

Chad McClain 

ST. FRANCIS COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The fire chief of an Arkansas town was killed in a crop duster crash Wednesday morning.

Family friends tell our sister station that Wheatley Fire Chief Chad McLain was killed in the crash.

The plane went down in a field off Highway 78 north of Wheatley in St. Francis County, according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Friends of McLain say he was a good man. He leaves behind a teenage daughter.

According to the Wheatley Marshal Service on Facebook, McClain had been with the Wheatley Volunteer Fire Department since 1994. He was also a local farmer and agriculture pilot. 

According to an obituary from Bob Neal & Sons Funeral Home in Brinkley, McLain's visitation is set for Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. a the Brinkley First United Methodist Church. That is located at 404 W. Ash Street in Brinkley.

His funeral is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Brinkley First United Methodist Church. He will be interned at Johnston Cemetery in Wheatley.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also posted her condolences for McLain's family and the Wheatley community on Facebook Wednesday evening.

Original article can be found here ➤

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