Saturday, September 11, 2021

Air Tractor AT-802A, N779DA: Incident occurred September 09, 2021 and Accident occurred May 31, 2020

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington

September 09, 2021:  Aircraft struck a stump while refilling water for firefighting operations at Bumping Lake, Washington.

Aero Spray Inc

Date: 09-SEP-21
Time: 16:15:00Z
Regis#: N779DA
Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR
Aircraft Model: AT-802A
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PUBLIC USE
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Operator: AERO SPRAY INC

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Unalakleet, Alaska 
Accident Number: ANC20CA052
Date & Time: May 31, 2020, 16:17 Local
Registration: N779DA
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT802
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Firefighting


The pilot of the amphibious scooper air tanker airplane, reported that while preforming aerial firefighting operations, he heard ground firefighters express concern over the radio about their equipment "being too close to the fire line." In response, the pilot landed at a small lake to fill the airplane's water hopper tank with water to drop on the fire. During the departure from the lake, the airplane’s left float struck a "small hill" that was about 20 ft above ground level. The pilot proceeded to fly the airplane to a nearby airport and made an uneventful landing. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed 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.

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 terrain clearance during the departure, which resulted in a collision with terrain.


Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Mountainous/hilly terrain - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Collision during takeoff/land (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor 
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: April 20, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: March 1, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 11000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2000 hours (Total, this make and model), 10700 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N779DA
Model/Series: AT802 FIREBOSS
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2018 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted (Special) 
Serial Number: 802A-0779
Landing Gear Type: 
Retractable - Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 19, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 16000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo prop
Airframe Total Time: 205.4 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: C126 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-67F
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 1600 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Dauntless Air
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAUN,20 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 23:56 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 265°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 15 knots / 22 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.45 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No
Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Galena, AK (GAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Galena, AK (GAL)
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: 63.906112,-160.25444(est)

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