Thursday, September 02, 2021

Air Tractor AT-401B, N5081W: Accident occurred September 01, 2021 at Storm Lake Municipal Airport (KSLB), Buena Vista County, Iowa

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; Des Moines, Iowa

Bart's Flying Service Inc

Location: Storm Lake, IA 
Accident Number: CEN21LA393
Date & Time: September 1, 2021, 08:32 Local
Registration: N5081W
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-401B 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR INC
Registration: N5081W
Model/Series: AT-401B 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.643,95.2019 (est)

A crop duster overturned around 9 a.m. Wednesday attempting to land at Storm Lake Municipal Airport.

A deputy with the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office said the incident is under investigation. The plane’s owner, Jim Bartholomew of Bart’s Flying Service, said pilot Travis Jacobson walked away uninjured.

“That’s the most important thing,” said Bartholomew, known to nearly everyone locally as Bart.

He said the plane landed on grass when the wheels locked up and skidded into a concrete runway, flipping it.

Bart has nearly five decades of flying experience to his name and comes from a family of aviators. His father was a pilot and he learned the trade in the Air Force. His sons, John and Mike, have their wings and belong to the family business.

Various crashes are not uncommon in the agricultural aviation business. In July, a crop duster was totaled after going down in a field two miles north of Newell. That pilot, Kyle Johnson of Albert City, also avoided injury.

“There’s two kinds of guys,” laughed Mike Bartholomew, who has personally been in one wreck. “Those who’ve crashed and those who are going to.”

“It’s always a surprise when it happens,” said Bart. “But if you go long enough in this, something’s going to happen.”

Bart said he has been in the cockpit for two crashes, the last in 1984 a few miles north of Storm Lake. Four other times the engine died with him in the air, but the ace managed to safely land.

“You never get used to that,” Bart said of the dangerous parts of the job. “When they quit, it puts a lump in your throat real quick.”

Bart said Wednesday’s tumble could have been much worse — for the pilot and the plane — but a quick survey of the damage left him confident everything can be fixed. A crane from Bargloff & Co., was called to assist with turning the plane upright shortly after noon.

“We’ll get it back up on its wheels and into the shop and start dismantling it and looking for other damage,” said Bart, who also manages Storm Lake’s airport. “It’s definitely repairable and we’ll get it back together.”

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