NTSB Identification: FTW98LA383.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 02, 1998 in PORTALES, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502B, registration: N50620
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 was flying westbound into the sun (275 degrees, 7 degrees above the horizon) during an aerial application pass over a cotton field. There was a circular pivotal sprinkler system which extended from the northern center of the field to the southeast. The pilot said that he looked over to adjust his onboard global positioning system and he struck the sprinkler. The impact separated the left main landing gear and initiated a fire in the right hand forward part of the cockpit. The pilot landed the airplane in the adjacent peanut field and the airplane ground looped during the emergency landing attempt. The airplane was destroyed during the subsequent post landing fire.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance during an aerial application. Also causal was the inadvertent ground loop/swerve during the landing.

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