NTSB Identification: LAX98LA128.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 23, 1998 in IMPERIAL, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT301, registration: N7301P
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 operator reported that the pilot attempted an unsuccessful takeoff from a 5,280-foot dirt strip. The operator reported that after the takeoff attempt, the aircraft struck an embankment just beyond the end of the runway and came to rest in a cotton field. Reported temperature at the time of the accident was 91 degrees Fahrenheit, and the density altitude was computed at 2,300 feet. The pilot stated that the aircraft had approximately 280 to 300 gallons of pesticide onboard and full fuel. He reported that the aircraft seemed sluggish and would not lift off the runway. The pilot stated that he made an unsuccessful attempt to jettison the load prior to the collision with the berm. The pilot reported that he attempted the takeoff from runway 26. The Imperial airport, 5 miles north-northeast, was reporting winds from 120 degrees at 11 knots at the time. A witness to the accident reported that as the aircraft went by him it was very loud and sounded as if it was operating at full power. The FAA inspected the aircraft on-scene and established flight control and engine continuity. No further discrepancies were noted. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical difficulties with the aircraft.

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

The pilot's selection of the wrong runway, which resulted in a downwind takeoff attempt, and, his failure to obtain/maintain a proper airspeed during the takeoff sequence. The aircraft's gross weight and the prevailing density altitude were factors in the accident.

Full narrative available

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