Sunday, April 14, 2019

Runway Excursion: Air Tractor AT-502A, N254LA, accident occurred July 26, 2018 at O'Brien Flying Service Airport (LA71), Iowa, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Iowa, LA
Accident Number: GAA18CA447
Date & Time: 07/26/2018, 1130 CDT
Registration: N254LA
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT502
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Runway excursion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 


According to the pilot in the tailwheel-equipped, restricted-category airplane, he had performed an agricultural flight and was landing to take on another load. He made a three-point landing with full flaps and closed the throttle. He stated that, during the landing roll, the airplane "turned violently to the right and got very light on the gear." The airplane’s nose had turned 45° right of the runway centerline, so he applied left brake and left rudder and then he added power. As the power increased, the airplane rolled left. The left wing struck the ground, and the pilot pulled the throttle to idle and then he applied reverse thrust and full brakes. However, the airplane exited the runway and collided with a drainage culvert.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing spar and aileron.

The pilot reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was light and variable, but dust devils were present. Additionally, he reported that the accident could have been prevented by landing at a higher airspeed to keep airflow over the rudder and by minimizing the engine thrust.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

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. 


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Object/animal/substance - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll
Loss of control on ground
Attempted remediation/recovery
Runway excursion (Defining event)

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/29/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/20/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 21639 hours (Total, all aircraft), 965 hours (Total, this make and model), 21502 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 310 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 105 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N254LA
Model/Series: AT502 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 502A-3054
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/20/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:  10480 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 965 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer:  Pratt & Whitney
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-140AG
Registered Owner: Obrien's Flying Service Inc
Rated Power: 867 hp
Operator: Obrien's Flying Service 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: KCWF, 17 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1648 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 263°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Iowa, LA (LA71)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Iowa, LA (LA71)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1045 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: O'Brien Flying Service (LA71)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 26 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 03
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3800 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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: 30.224444, -93.000278 (est)

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