NTSB Identification: CHI04CA224.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 12, 2004 in Cambridge, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2004
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-301, registration: N2353W
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The aerial application airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with a tree and terrain during initial climb. The pilot's accident report stated, "When I first powered up the engine, I thought it seemed a bit rough running, but soon it straightened up. I looked down, at the manifold pressure to see if the blower was producing, and it was at 36 inches, which was normal for this aircraft. At this point, I concluded that the engine was okay and seemed to be producing adequate power. The takeoff roll was as I had expected, with rotation and liftoff at about the point it should have been. Then, the AT 301 seemed to settle back to the runway, with the tail wheel hitting first, which put the main gear back on the runway. With this bounce the AT 301 went back into the air, and I thought I was going to carry the load on out. There was no time left at this point to shut down, and I thought it was going to fly. Just after crossing the end of the runway, the plane lost altitude with the left wing catching a tree, which tore off the left aileron and immediately put me on the ground, hitting with the left wing and engine first." An on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The pilot's safety recommendation stated, "If I had an engine analyzer which could have told of a cylinder that was not up to standard - there would not have been any take off attempted. From now on any ag aircraft I fly I will have my left hand resting on the dump on take off."

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

The pilot not jettisoning his chemical load during initial climb with the reported loss of airplane performance. Factors were the reported loss of aircraft performance and the tree.

Full narrative available

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