Saturday, January 08, 2022

Aerodynamic Stall/Spin: Air Tractor AT-502, N4540C; accident occurred January 09, 2021 in Cushing, Payne County, Oklahoma

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Cushing, Oklahoma 
Accident Number: CEN21LA110
Date and Time: January 9, 2021, 14:50 Local
Registration: N4540C
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-502
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural


The pilot stated that he intended to depart from a soft, muddy runway and was having a difficult time becoming airborne. When the airplane reached a spot of the runway that was not as muddy, the airplane “popped out of the mud” and reached an altitude of about 30 ft above the ground. Before he could lower the nose to gain airspeed, the left wing stalled and the airplane impacted the surrounding terrain resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, tail, and both wings. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operations.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s decision to takeoff from unsuitable terrain which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with terrain.


Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Environmental issues Soft surface - Decision related to condition
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Airspeed - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Aerodynamic stall/spin (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 5, 2020
Occupational Pilot: UNK
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 6, 2020
Flight Time: 1198.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 666.2 hours (Total, this make and model), 1145.8 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR INC
Registration: N4540C
Model/Series: AT-502
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1991
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Restricted (Special) 
Serial Number: 502-0119
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Unknown 
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer:
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCUH, 916 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 74°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.33 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Cushing, OK
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cushing, OK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private PVT
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 0 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Rough; Soft; Standing water
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

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: 35.939235,-96.820585

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