NTSB Identification: CHI02LA212.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 24, 2002 in Central City, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/04/2002
Aircraft: Grumman G-164, registration: N5296
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 airplance collided with trees after encountering a downdraft. The pilot reported that he had just finished an aerial application flight, departed the field, and was climbing to return to the airport when the airplane encountered a downdraft. The pilot stated the airplane was at an altitude of 250 feet to 300 feet at the time. The pilot reported that the ceiling had decreased to approximately 800 feet during the flight. He reported, "I hit severe turbulence and a severe downdraft." He stated he added full power, but the airplane descended to an altitude of approximately 50 feet where the right wing struck cottonwood trees. The airplane then stalled and descended into a bean field. The pilot reported the fuel tank ruptured during the impact and a post crash fire ensued. The pilot reported on an NTSB Form 6120.1/2, "If I had left the field sooner instead of finishing my load I may have avoided the whole incident." Weather radar images and local obdervations show that thunderstorms were moving into the area at the time of the accident.

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

The pilot was not able to maintain clearance with the trees when the airplane encountered a downdraft at a low altitude. An additional cause was the pilot's inadequate evaluation of the approaching weather conditions. Factors associated with the accident were the downdraft and the trees which were contacted.

Full narrative available

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