Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Air Tractor AT-802F Fire Boss, N397AS: Accident occurred August 14, 2018 in Northport, Stevens County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
United States Forest Service; Boise, Idaho
AirSpray Air Tankers; Chico, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Northport, WA
Accident Number: WPR18LA222
Date & Time: 08/14/2018, 1500 PDT
Registration: N397AS
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT802
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:  Public Aircraft 

On August 14, 2018, about 1500 Pacific daylight time, an Air Tractor AT802 airplane (Fire Boss), N397AS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Northport, Washington. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to Wells Fargo Bank Northwest Trustee and operated by Airspray Airtankers, Chico, California, as a public aircraft. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that had originated from a water dip site near the area of an active fire.

According to the United States Forest Service (USFS) accident coordinator, the airplane was being used as a mutual aid agreement between Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the USFS.

The accident flight was a flight of 3, with the accident airplane in the number 2 position. The pilot reported that he heard a "thud" followed by a bang and the airframe began to shake. He jettisoned the water and turned away from the other two airplanes. The pilot initially was going to land on an old logging road; however, the landing area was lined with trees on both sides of the road. He opted instead to stall the airplane over the tree tops. After impact with the trees, the airplane came to rest upright at the base of the trees adjacent to the road.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site and reported that the entire airplane came to rest at the accident site. He noted that the cowling and one wing were oil-coated.

The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N397AS
Model/Series: AT802 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KOMK
Observation Time: 1353 PDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , Variable
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 3 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Northport, WA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  48.980278, -118.017778 (est)

A pilot flying a small firefighting plane over the Horns Mountain fire in Stevens County survived a crash Tuesday afternoon.

Washington Department of Natural Resources officials said the crash happened at about 2 p.m. Tuesday just north of Kettle Falls.

Officials from Air Spray USA, Inc, the company the aircraft, said the plane experienced engine failure during a water-drop mission.

The pilot was in route with two other Fire Boss planes to drop water on teh Horns Mountain fire when the pilot reportedly started experiencing issues with the plane. The pilot was forced to pull out formation and officials said he issued a "MayDay" call asking for immediate help.

The pilot had to make a forced landing among timber on a logging road. The plane did not catch fire and the pilot was able to exit the plane on his own and did not need to be hospitalized.

One of the pilots flying in the water-drop mission said the pilot who crash did not appear to do anything that would have caused engine failure.

Officials are still investigating the crash.

The pilot is one of five Fire Boss pilots dropping water on the Horns Mountain fire. The fire is burning more than 350 acres 12 miles north of Northport as of Tuesday morning. FireBoss tankers are dropping fire retardant and water on the flames from nearby lakes and rivers. Currently, 229 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to these fires.

Original article can be found here ➤

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. -  The Department of Natural Resources reports that a FireBoss airplane has crashed in northeast Washington. There aren't a lot of details released right now, but we do know that the pilot did survive the crash.

The pilot was working on the Horns Mountain fire, burning about 838 acres near Northport, close to the US/Canada border.

According to the DNR, the pilot was able to get out of the crashed plane and to a nearby road where he flagged down a passing crew, who got help.

The firefighting plane was one of five assigned to fight the blaze.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources released the following statement regarding today’s aircraft incident:

“We are aware of an incident involving a fixed-wing aircraft at the Horns Mountain Fire near Northport, WA. We are working with our partners to gather more information at this time but want the public to know that the pilot of the aircraft is ok and receiving medical attention for any possible injuries.”

Air Spray USA, Inc, the company that owns the aircraft, stated:
“The aircraft experienced an unknown problem on the fire it was working near the US/Canadian border. The pilot executed a forced landing on a logging road and was able to exit the aircraft. He was transported to the hospital. No other information is available at this time. An investigation is in process.”

Incident Commander Brian Goff, NWIIMT9, the team managing the fire, said, “We are very relieved to learn that the pilot was able to walk away from this incident. Firefighting aircraft work closely with ground firefighters to contain the fire. They are all part of the team. I admire the skill and bravery they exhibit on every fire.”

Story and video ➤

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