NTSB Identification: LAX02LA240.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 27, 2002 in San Manuel, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502, registration: N293JK
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 airplane collided with mountainous terrain while maneuvering in a box canyon. The purpose of the flight was to seed a fire devastated portion of a National Forest. The area where he was applying seed was in a box canyon that he had flown into several times, in days prior. After successfully completing a seed run, near the closed end of the canyon, he began a course reversal turn. About halfway through the turn, the airplane experienced a rapid loss of altitude. He ascertained that the airplane would not be able to complete the turn, and leveled the wings. The airplane stalled, and collided with flat terrain on the side of the mountain. He thought the loss of altitude that he experienced was the result of mountain downdrafts. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering in a box canyon, which resulted in a stall/mush. A factor in the accident was downdraft conditions that led to an uncontrolled decent.

Full narrative available

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