Sunday, February 14, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Air Tractor AT-602, N602BK; accident occurred February 22, 2020 in Bunkie, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Bunkie, LA
Accident Number: CEN20CA103
Date & Time: 02/22/2020, 1520 CST
Registration: N602BK
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT 602
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning


The pilot reported that he was performing a straight-in approach and landing. The airplane touched down on the runway centerline, and it was under control. After the tailwheel settled onto the runway, the pilot applied the brakes and retarded the engine power to the beta range. Shortly after, the airplane began to swerve left. The pilot's efforts to maintain directional control were unsuccessful, and the airplane departed the left side of the runway, encountered soft ground, and ground looped. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, right wing, and vertical stabilizer. The pilot noted that he did not ensure that the tailwheel lock was engaged before landing.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to lock the tailwheel before landing, which resulted in his loss of directional control during the landing roll, a runway excursion onto soft ground, and a subsequent ground loop.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Personnel issues Lack of action - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Soft surface - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/14/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/16/2019
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 16964 hours (Total, all aircraft), 505 hours (Total, this make and model), 15479 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N602BK
Model/Series: AT 602 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 602-1128
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/22/2020, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 12500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 8966.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-60AG
Registered Owner: Bunkie Flying Service Inc
Rated Power: 1050 hp
Operator: Bunkie 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: KOPL, 76 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2015 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 169°
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: 30.37 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Iota, LA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Bunkie, LA (2LA4)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1505 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Bunkie Flying Service (2LA4)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete; Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 65 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

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: 30.929167, -92.179167 (est)

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