Friday, June 19, 2020

Air Tractor AT-402, N1532H: Accident occurred June 17, 2020 in Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas

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. 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Little Rock, Arkansas

Farm Brothers Flyers A LLC

Location: Pine Bluff, AR
Accident Number: CEN20LA234
Date & Time: 06/17/2020, 1800 CDT
Registration: N1532H
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT402
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On June 17, 2020, about 1800 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-402 airplane, N1532H, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

According to preliminary information obtained by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, the airplane was applying applicant to a field and began a turn to reverse course for another pass, when a partial loss of engine power occurred. The pilot lost control of the airplane and it collided in a field.

The airplane was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR
Registration: N1532H
Model/Series: AT402
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPBF, 214 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 60°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Pine Bluff, AR (PBF)
Destination: Pine Bluff, AR (PBF)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage:Destroyed 
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 34.206667, -91.873889 (est)

Pilot Alex Powell

Thursday morning the Federal Aviation Administration was on scene of the Wednesday afternoon crop duster crash that happened near Atkins Lake Road, and has taken over the investigation of the crash.

911 calls for the crash came in at 6:09 p.m. Wednesday afternoon according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The pilot, identified as 20-year-old Alex Powell, was trapped in plane. Powell was removed and was taken Jefferson Regional where he was then transferred to Little Rock for further treatment. has learned the pilot did not suffer any life-threatening injuries in the crash.

Witnesses on the scene told that two crop dusters were flying together throughout the day making passes over fields to dump fertilizer. Those two planes were together before the crash, however, witnesses stated Powell pulled away from the second plane just moments before the crash, and flew over the field he crashed in. Those witnesses say he had not flown over the field he crashed in at any point during the day until the crash took place.

It is unknown what caused the plane to go down, but witnesses stated the engine was still running at the time of the crash, and Powell was awake and alert when they arrived at the crash site.

While two witnesses at the scene say there were two planes flying together and the engine was running at the time of the crash, the pilot’s father, Mike Powell, tells that there were not two planes flying together, only his son was flying, and that the engine lost power before the crash. Mike Powell also confirmed his son, Alex, did not receive any life threatening injuries in the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration is in the early stages of their investigation. It usually takes several months before a full report on the cause of the crash is released.


  1. They say no life-threatening injuries, but the deformation of the aircraft looks extreme and having to be freed from the wreck is not the same as walking away. Hope he can make a full recovery.

  2. Many fatal accident crashes look better than this destroyed wreck.

  3. this is Alex Powell, the airplane stalled. i would use the term non life threatening loosely. I received 16 units of blood and suffered and arterial bleed in the right leg. im currently in recovery and trying to get back as well as possible.

    1. Alex, thank GOD you were not killed in that crash. That had to be a horrific ordeal to go through. Are you going to give ag aviation another try or did this close call cause you to re-evaluate your choice of being an ag-pilot? Was this your first season? I wish you all the best, my friend. God bless.

  4. Hang in there Alex. I lost my 31 yr old son in a AT502b on 7/25/2020 in Grant NE. No final decision as to the formal cause but it happened in the reversal turn. I always told him to "fly like an old man so you can fly when you are an old man". Get well young man! Ron Tuttle, College Grove TN. P.S.-My sons name was Alex too.

  5. Mr. Tuttle, I am so very sorry for your loss. Our ag-pilots deserve our thanks for the work they do. Ag-pilots are a cut above all the rest.

    On August 27, 2014 I lost a good friend in a wire strike incident near Middleton, TN. James Earl "J.T." Taylor had been a veteran ag-pilot of 40 years when he contacted a set of TVA lines that tore off the outer half of the right wing, which sling-shot him into a heavily wooded area adjacent to the field.

  6. Mr. Tuttle, I am wondering if our young embryo ag-pilots are being put into turbine aircraft too soon. I am not an ag-pilot or a pilot of any kind for that matter, but I have spent many, many a day around ag-pilots and all of them have told me in years past that an embryo ag-pilot needs to get at least 5 seasons under his belt before even thinking about getting a seat in a turbine aircraft. What are your thoughts on the subject?

    1. The real problem is that Turbines are way more reliable and rarely quit. But they are so much faster and cover so many more acres in a day that the young pilots will encounter more obstacles, at a faster rate everyday... So the operator has a tough choice to make, put the kid in a plane that will bring him home every night as long as he is fast enough to avoid all the obstacles, or put him in a slower plane that will give him more time to react, that is more likely to just quit him and cause a crash for no reason... I hope I didn’t come across and supporting one over the other because I don’t, and I dont know what the answer is...

  7. Dear Mr. Crump, sorry for the late reply but I just noticed your reply. I do know that turbines are more reliable in the long run and transitioning to a different power plant takes time to get used to. I would put a lot of credence into the opinions of the veteran ag pilots. Ag pilots put in sunup to sundown hours for weeks at a time and are often working at the edge of the flight envelope. I don't know if a 5 yr. rule would be the answer but if saves lives you may be right. Fly safe and take care. Ron Tuttle


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