Saturday, September 05, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Air Tractor AT-502B, N2038Q; accident occurred July 15, 2020 in Washington, Beaufort County, North Carolina

Left side of wing and overview of fuselage.

Damage overview of outer left wing area.

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Tim Whitfield Aviation Inc

Location: Washington, NC
Accident Number: ERA20CA253
Date & Time: 07/15/2020, 0715 EDT
Registration: N2038Q
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT502
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural


The pilot reported that after the completion of an aerial application flight, during the landing roll on a wet grass runway, the airplane slid off the left side of the runway, where the left wing subsequently impacted corn stalks, which "further drug the aircraft into the corn and ditch." The fuselage, wings, and empennage sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact 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 during landing on a wet grass runway.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Wet surface - Ability to respond/compensate

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion
Landing-landing roll Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Center
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/24/2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/02/2019
Flight Time: 15100 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2500 hours (Total, this make and model), 14800 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 162 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N2038Q
Model/Series:AT502 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 502B-2878
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/08/2020, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 2455.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: P&W Canada
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-34AG
Registered Owner: Tim Whitfield Aviation Inc.
Rated Power: 750 hp
Operator: Tim Whitfield Aviation 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: 7W6, 6 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0715 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 10000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Washington, NC (23NR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Washington, NC (23NR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0700 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Whitfield's East (23NR)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 26
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3300 ft / 23 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: 35.561111, -76.231944 (est)

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