Sunday, February 14, 2021

Air Tractor AT-602, N5197Y: Accident occurred February 25, 2020 in Dumas, Desha County, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas
Air Tractor; Olney, Texas
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Gatineau 
Pratt & Whitney Canada; Longueuil 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Dumas, Arkansas 
Accident Number: CEN20LA109
Date & Time: February 25, 2020, 10:30 Local 
Registration: N5197Y
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT 602 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

Factual Information

On February 25, 2020, about 1030 central standard time, an Air Tractor AT-602, N5197Y, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Dumas, Arkansas. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

The pilot reported that after the completion of a low-level aerial application operation over a field, he executed a trim pass on the north side of the field with about 495 gallons (about 4,133 lbs) of product in the hopper. While flying from west to east, between "160 to 180" mph, the five-blade metal propeller impacted a galvanized metal bracket attached to the top of a 35 ft tall wooden power line pole. The bracket was about one ft wide and two ft long. One of the propeller blades separated about midspan from the impact. After the impact, there were "extreme" vibrations throughout the engine and airframe, and oil from the engine coated the front three windshield panels. The pilot attempted to clear the oil with the windshield wiper system with no avail.

The pilot maneuvered the airplane to perform an emergency landing to an east to west oriented dirt road, about a half mile north of where the wooden power line was located. The hopper load was not dumped before the landing. Due to the reduced visibility, the pilot landed while looking out the left window. Both wings impacted the ground during the landing sequence and the airplane came to rest over a ditch. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the rudder.

The pilot reported there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal operation. While the wooded power line pole was previously identified by the pilot, the pilot reported that he did not know about, nor did he see the metal bracket attached to the top of the wooden power line pole. The pilot further reported that he did not feel the glare of the sun, which was positioned 39° above the horizon and at an azimuth of 143°, was a factor in the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved Air Tractor AT-602 Airplane Flying Manual (AFM) discusses general procedures for low-level aerial application flights, however the AFM does not contain guidance regarding post-obstacle strike actions (obstacles such as those commonly encountered in low-level aerial application flights such as a wire, pole, tower, or tree) and emergency hopper dump guidance, nor is such guidance required.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 53,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 4-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: February 12, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: March 30, 2018
Flight Time: 7867 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2887 hours (Total, this make and model), 7842 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 37.2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N5197Y
Model/Series: AT 602 No Series 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1999 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted (Special) 
Serial Number: 602-0529
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: December 29, 2019
Annual Certified Max Gross Wt.: 12500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo prop
Airframe Total Time: 10051 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney Canada
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-60AG
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 1050 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Moss Flying Service 
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLLQ,270 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 16:25 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 219°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2600 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 280° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.9 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Tillar, AR (None)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Tillar, AR (None)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.869998,-91.526947(est)

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