Saturday, August 20, 2022

Air Tractor AT-602, N602PB: Fatal accident occurred August 19, 2022 in Glendora, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Kemner, Heidi

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi
Air Tractor Inc; Olney, Texas

Snow Brake Air Service Inc

Location: Glendora, Mississippi 
Accident Number: ERA22FA376
Date and Time: August 19, 2022, 10:30 Local 
Registration: N602PB
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-602
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

On August 19, 2022, about 1030 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-602, N602PB, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Glendora, Mississippi. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

According to the operator’s son, the pilot had planned for three flights to spray the target field and was returning from the second flight to reload when the accident occurred. The target field was about 14 miles southeast from the airport and the accident site was along the straight-line distance from the airport to the target field (see figure 1). The accident site was about 9 miles from the target field and 5 miles from the airport. 

The airplane came to rest in a cornfield, at an elevation of 140 ft, upright, with the wreckage oriented on a 230° heading. All major components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The airplane struck multiple rows of corn prior to impacting the ground. The left wingtip red-light lens cover was located in the vicinity of the first ground impact scar. The first vegetation strike was about 155 ft from the main wreckage and there was an odor of fuel at the accident site.

The fuselage remained intact, with the empennage attached to the fuselage. The leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer was dented and remained attached to the empennage. The right horizontal stabilizer was bent aft and wrinkled about 1 ft from the empennage attach point. The left and right elevators remained attached to the empennage with the trim tabs attached to each elevator and both elevators moved freely by hand. The rudder and rudder trim tab remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and were undamaged. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the flight controls in the cockpit to the elevator and rudder. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage and was bent aft. The right aileron remained attached to the right wing and the outboard section was impact damaged. The left-wing tip was impact separated and was located about 140 ft before the main wreckage. The inboard section of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage with the outboard 20 ft impact damaged and bent aft. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the ailerons to the flight controls in the cockpit through multiple overload breaks in the push/pull rods.

The engine remained attached to the airframe engine mounts. The front reduction gearbox was impact separated and remained attached to the propeller hub. Remnants of the front reduction gearbox flange remained attached to the power section of the engine. Multiple gear teeth on the reduction gearbox exhibited rotational scoring. The exhaust stacks were removed to facilitate examination. The 2nd stage power turbine remained intact and one of the blade tips was impact separated and located at the accident site in the vicinity of the engine with multiple turbine blades exhibiting trailing edge damage. Rotational scoring was noted on the power turbine section case. Furthermore, the sections of the exhaust duct exhibited torsional/compression damage.

The airplane was equipped with a 5-blade Hartzell controllable pitch propeller. Two of the 5 propeller blades were impact separated from the hub and located along the debris path. The other 3 propeller blades remained attached to the hub. Multiple blades were bent the opposite direction of travel and exhibited chordwise scratching. Furthermore, one blade exhibited leading edge gouging.

An Electronics International MVP-50 engine data unit and a SatLoc Bantam unit were removed and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data download.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR INC 
Registration: N602PB
Model/Series: AT-602
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RNV, 140 ft msl 
Observation Time: 10:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Glendora, MS 
Destination: Glendora, MS

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude:33.84119 4,-90.302528

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances in a field.  

Date: 19-AUG-22
Time: 17:12:00Z
Regis#: N602PB
Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR
Aircraft Model: AT-602
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Missing: No
Operation: 137

Billy Ray Kent
May 16, 1952  -  August 19, 2022

Mr. Billy Ray Kent, 70, of Sumner passed into Glory on August 19, 2022 while flying across the blue, cloud-streaked skies of Tallahatchie County.

Born on May 16, 1952, Mr. Kent attended and graduated from West Tallahatchie High School. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Sumner, Mississippi.

As a lifelong Deltan, he was a man of great curiosity and achievement. Mr. Kent began earning his flying credentials in 1974. Once he earned his pilot’s license he went on to earn ratings for glider planes, aerobatic planes, a certification for tandem parachute jumping, and the honor of ACE Pilot of the Year. He had been an ag. pilot servicing Delta farmers, and best friends, for nearly five decades.

He was also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, pedal steel and bass guitar being what he was most known for. And, for over 25 years, as the bass player for Mike Ellis and the Hometown Band, he laid down the backbone for every house party, concert and festival the boys played. They were not just a band, but brothers.

A friend to all, he never met a stranger and always had a comforting smile or sturdy shoulder to offer anyone in need. He loved bird dogs and quail hunting. Some of his best times were spent chasing turkeys and hunting deer. Mostly, though, he loved to share the fields and woods with his friends, family and loved ones. He was especially passionate about sharing the outdoors with children.

Out of all his achievements and honors being Daddy, to Rayanne and Lena, was his most favorite. They, along with his grandsons, were the loves of his life. He never missed an opportunity to spend time with them. The impact he already had on his grandson’s lives was tremendous.

He is preceded in death by his father: Billy James Kent.

He is survived by his mother: Doris Kent, and his twin sister: Faye Gullette (Ted); his little sister Lessie Kent (Bill Waldrup) as well as his wife: Angie Hawkins Kent and her son: Jamie Mangum; his two daughters: Rayanne Hollis (Van) and their two sons: Kent and Burnham Hollis; and Lena Kay Koenig (Nick) and their son: Malone Koenig. He also leaves behind his former wife, the mother of his children, Becky Gourlay. These, and his host of best friends, will forever remember and cherish Billy Ray, whose heart was as big and beautiful as the skies of heaven he so loved.

Family and friends are invited to visitation on Saturday, August 27th from 5 pm to 8 pm at the family’s home, 402 Cassidy St. Sumner, Ms.

A memorial service will be held at the Sumner Presbyterian Church on Sunday at 3 pm. Immediately Followed by an aerial flyover Missing man formation.

The memorial service will be streamed live on Facebook. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to Super Hunt: Deer Hunts for Youth with Disabilities (, or CARES Animal Shelter (P.O. Box 142, Clarksdale, Ms. 38614).

A Tallahatchie County pilot was killed Friday afternoon when an agricultural plane crashed into a farm field just north of Glendora, according to Tallahatchie County Sheriff Jimmy Fly.

The sheriff has identified the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, as Billy Ray Kent, 70, of 402 Cassidy St., Sumner.

Mr. Kent was said to be the chief pilot at Snow Brake Air Service Inc. near Webb, where he reportedly had worked since January 1985.

Tallahatchie County Coroner Ginger Meriwether said an autopsy would be conducted at the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Pearl for an official ruling on Mr. Kent's cause of death. She said the examination should help to determine whether a medical emergency could have contributed to the crash.

Meriwether said Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale will be in charge of Mr. Kent's arrangements.

The crop duster that Mr. Kent was piloting had gone missing for several hours about midday Friday, prompting an aerial search, Fly said.

A pilot in one of the planes involved in the search spotted the wreckage at about 3:20 p.m., the sheriff noted.

He said the crash site was in a cornfield approximately a half-mile east of Highway 49.

Fly noted that the Tallahatchie County Emergency Management Agency and Sumner Volunteer Fire Department joined the Tallahatchie County Sheriff's Office in responding to the scene. He said there was no fire and that firefighters just provided assistance.

The sheriff said investigators from both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were due at the site Saturday.

Fly, who expressed appreciation "to everyone who helped and responded to this accident," said his thoughts and prayers are with the family.

"[Mr. Kent] had a lot of friends who were there to help, and everyone talked about what a great pilot he was and all of the flight hours and experience he had," the sheriff noted.  "I just hope the family can find some peace and comfort during this difficult time."

Meriwether said this kind of "terrible accident" is not often seen, sending "many prayers for Mr. Kent's family and friends."

In the last such local incident, a 28-year-old Schlater pilot was killed Aug. 16, 2017, when his crop duster crashed in southwestern Tallahatchie County, near the Tallahatchie-Leflore county line.

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