NTSB Identification: MIA97LA094.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 04, 1997 in TAMPA, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N4345C
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.

The pilot had landed and was taxiing back to the departure runway using the adjacent taxiway, when the airplane struck a tractor that was cutting grass to the left of the taxiway. The tractor was mowing along the taxiway lights and was travailing to the northeast, halfway on the hard surface and halfway into the grass. The tractor driver was approaching each light, lifting his mower, passing over the light and lowering the mower again to mow in between the lights. According to the tractor driver he was 'traveling in a straight line, and was sure he had not turned out in front of the approaching airplane.' At the time of impact the driver stated that he was watching the mower and did not see the airplane until after the impact. The airplane approached the tractor from behind and he was unaware that it was coming until it hit the tractor. A witness said, '...I saw aircraft N4345C, taxing on the taxiway parallel to runway 21 and 3...toward runway 21, at an excessive rate of speed, and the tractor mowing at the side of the taxiway was going in the same direction, when the aircraft hit the back of the tractor, with the left wing without trying to slow down or stop....'

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

the pilot's excessive taxispeed.

Full narrative available

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