Sunday, February 24, 2019

Air Tractor AT-602, registered to and operated by Quad Rabbit Inc as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 agricultural application flight, N4257R: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2017 in Cash, Craighead County, Arkansas

Ronald J. "Tripp" Everidge, III
December 31, 1989 ~ July 8, 2017 (age 27)

Tripp was a third generation aerial applicator and began his career at the age of 17.  In fact, he was honored at that time for being the youngest aerial applicator in the United States.  He was a member of the Georgia Aerial Applicators Association and the National Aerial Applicators Association. He also enjoyed duck hunting and lifting weights.  Above all, his greatest joy in life was spending time with his family and friends.


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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N4257R



Location: Cash, AR
Accident Number: CEN17FA259
Date & Time: 07/08/2017, 1453 CDT
Registration: N4257R
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 602
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 8, 2017, about 1453 central daylight time, an Air Tractor, Inc., AT-602 airplane, N4257R, impacted terrain near Cash, Arkansas. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Quad Rabbit, Inc., as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 agricultural application flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed from a private airstrip about 1449.

According to operator personnel, the pilot was conducting his sixth load application of the day and was spreading fertilizer. Two witnesses located near the accident site reported seeing the airplane make a low-altitude turn and then enter a spin with a nose-low attitude. The airplane subsequently impacted a rice field adjacent to the field being treated.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 27, held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. On March 28, 2017, he was issued a second-class medical certificate with no limitations. The pilot was 73 inches tall and weighed 256 lbs at the time of his last exam.

On his medical certificate application, the pilot reported 4,188 total hours of flight experience, 320 hours of which were flown during the previous 6 months. On an insurance application dated August 5, 2015, the pilot reported 1,750 hours flown in agricultural airplanes, 150 hours of which were flown in turbine engine-powered agricultural airplanes. The pilot's logbooks were not made available during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine, low-wing, conventional-geared airplane was equipped with a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-60AG turbo-prop engine. The Hobbs hour meter was destroyed in the accident; therefore, the engine's time-in-service could not be determined. The airplane's maintenance records were not made available during the investigation.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a flat, flooded rice field north of the field the pilot was treating. The rice was about 24 inches tall, and the water was about 8 inches deep. A strong smell of jet fuel existed at the site, and an area of the field showed damage consistent with fuel spray. The airplane was equipped for spreading granular materials, and small amounts of dry urea fertilizer were found in several locations at the accident site.

The wreckage was found in an upright position, oriented toward the south. The forward fuselage was destroyed, and the wing leading edges were crushed aft. The engine, firewall, cowling, hopper components, and upper instrument panel were found about 75 ft away from the center of the wreckage with a ground scar extending from the primary impact point.

All flight control surfaces were found in the wreckage. The elevator controls were continuous from the control stick to the elevator horns. The aileron controls were continuous except for fractures on both sides where the wings meet the fuselage. The right rudder cable was continuous to the right rudder horn. The left rudder cable had separated near the airplane's aft end. The lower end of the vertical fin and rudder were separated from the fuselage and were displaced to the right. Measurement of the flap actuator's extension indicated that the flaps were deflected about 11°.

Engine examination found rotational contact signatures on its internal components. Examination of the recovered propeller blades and propeller hub revealed no indications that the propeller was in beta mode or reverse pitch. No evidence of preimpact anomalies of the engine, airframe, or propeller were found.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Arkansas State Medical Examiner, Little Rock, Arkansas, conducted an autopsy of the pilot and determined that the cause of death was "generalized blunt force injuries" and that contributing to the cause of death was "coronary artery disease." The autopsy revealed that the pilot had severe coronary artery disease with about 90 percent narrowing of the left anterior descending coronary artery. The pilot also had mild interstitial and perivascular fibrosis, which is scar tissue in the heart muscle and tissue around the blood vessels that can predispose an individual to sudden cardiac dysrhythmias, which, if prolonged, can cause death.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on specimens from the pilot. The testing was negative for ethanol, carbon monoxide, and tested-for-drugs. On his last FAA medical examination, the pilot stated that he did not have any medical concerns and that he did not use any medications. The pilot's family was not aware of that the pilot had any medical issues.

ADDITONAL INFORMATION

A SATLOC, which is an aerial guidance system that allows agricultural applicators to view flight information, such as spray and waypoints, was recovered from the wreckage and sent to National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorder Division for download and readout. SATLOC data revealed that the accident occurred on the third trip to treat a field south of the accident site.

The first flight to the field consisted of an orbit to the south of the field being treated, followed by six passes in the field. The second flight consisted of 9 1/2 passes in the field. Each of the passes were in a north-south or south-north direction with left-turning "racetrack" patterns. During these patterns, the seven turns made on the north side of the field were on average about 18 seconds long. The third flight consisted of a single pass from south to north. It is uncertain how many additional passes were made before the accident occurred. From the end of the GPS recording, about four passes remained to finish treating the field.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 27, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/28/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 4188 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1300 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR INC
Registration: N4257R
Model/Series: AT 602 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 602-1146
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 12500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt and Whitney Canada
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-60AG
Registered Owner: QUAD RABBIT INC
Rated Power: 1020 hp
Operator: QUAD RABBIT INC
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: KJBR, 262 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1453 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 78°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Cash, AR (PRI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cash, AR (PRI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1449 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  35.790278, -90.888333

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA259
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, July 08, 2017 in Cash, AR
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 602, registration: N4257R
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 July 8, 2017, about 1456 central daylight time, an Air Tractor Inc. AT-602 airplane, N4257R, was destroyed after impact with terrain near Cash, Arkansas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Quad Rabbit Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial spraying flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed from a private airstrip about 1431.

According to spray operator personnel, the pilot was conducting his sixth load of the day. Two witnesses located near the accident site observed the airplane make a low altitude turn and subsequently begin spinning with a nose low attitude. The spin continued until the airplane impacted a rice field.

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