NTSB Identification: FTW97LA012.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 08, 1996 in IDALOU, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/03/1997
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502, registration: N4533H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to an FAA inspector, the pilot was attempting to depart his 2,300 foot long dirt airstrip with a 3,040 pound payload of cotton defoliant for a local aerial application flight. He stated that the airplane failed to become airborne and overran the departure end of the airstrip. He added that the airplane managed to break ground, but its wheels dragged on cotton plants and eventually decelerated the airplane to the point where the flight could not be maintained. Subsequently, the airplane encountered furrows perpendicular to its takeoff path and was damaged. The pilot stated that 'the gross weight of the airplane exceeded the ability of the airplane to become airborne within the length of the runway.' The pilot added that 'attempts to jettison the load near the end of the strip were not in sufficient time to prevent running off the end of the runway.' Based on figures provided by the operator, the density altitude was calculated to be 9,500 feet. The approved airplane flight manual did not provide performance data on the required takeoff roll for this flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's improper planning/decision, which resulted in an overrun during takeoff and an encounter with cotton (crop) and rough/uneven terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: the excessive loading of the airplane for the existing conditions, the short runway, the high density altitude, and the pilot's delay in jettisoning the load.

Full narrative available

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