Sunday, June 13, 2021

Aerodynamic Stall / Spin: Air Tractor AT-502B, N103CK; accident occurred June 13, 2019 at Kornegay Private Airport (53XS), San Benito, Cameron County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: San Benito, TX
Accident Number: GAA19CA339
Date & Time: 06/13/2019, 1630 CDT
Registration: N103CK
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT502
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 


The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during takeoff with a "heavy load" from a 2,600-ft-long private runway, the airplane lifted off, but "due to a shifting wind and high density altitude," the airplane aerodynamically stalled and impacted a field at the end of the runway. The airplane nosed over and was consumed by a postimpact fire.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

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

The pilot reported that the airplane's gross weight at the time of the accident was 9,350 lbs, and the manufacturer's maximum gross takeoff weight was 9,400 lbs.

An automated weather observation station located 6 miles north of the accident site reported that, about 37 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 190° at 10 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 5,000 ft, temperature 90° F, dew point 70° F, and altimeter setting 30.04 inches of mercury. The same automated station reported that, about 22 minutes after the accident, the wind was from 040° at 6 knots. The airplane was departing from runway 12.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper decision to take off with the airplane near its maximum allowable gross takeoff weight and his subsequent exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack during takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)
Maximum weight - Not specified (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Aerodynamic stall/spin (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Nose over/nose down
Fire/smoke (non-impact)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 28, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
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: 02/11/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/04/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 900 hours (Total, this make and model), 3000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 350 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 300 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N103CK
Model/Series: AT502 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 502B-2795
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/17/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 3700 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: P&W Canada
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-34AG
Registered Owner: Sun Valley Dusting Co
Rated Power: 750 hp
Operator: Sun Valley Dusting Co
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: KHRL, 34 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 324°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR): 
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: San Benito, TX (53XS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: San Benito, TX (53XS)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 30 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2600 ft / 20 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 26.148056, -97.590000 (est)

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