NTSB Identification: FTW99FA004.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 1998 in NEWELLTON, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-401, registration: N4531M
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The agricultural airplane, flown by the non-instrument rated commercial pilot, descended into a lake following a loss of control during an inadvertent entry into adverse weather conditions. A 'very dense' fog bank extending from the ground to 300 to 400 feet agl moved rapidly into the area. The National Weather Service reported that throughout northeastern Louisiana, the weather conditions were: winds calm to 3 knots from the north, 1/4 statute mile visibility in fog, ceiling of 100 feet, and a temperature dewpoint spread of 2 degrees Celsius. The pilot had accumulated over 20,000 hours of aerial application flying including over 4,000 hours in the accident aircraft. The aircraft was not equipped for flight into instrument meteorological conditions. No pre-impact anomalies were found with the airframe or the engine.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during an inadvertent entry into adverse weather conditions. A related factor was the fog.

Full narrative available

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