NTSB Identification: LAX08CA034.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 06, 2007 in Soledad, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-401, registration: N6024M
Injuries: 1 Serious.
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 pilot was seeding an area located adjacent to mountainous terrain. Prior to making the first pass, he had flown a reconnaissance flight to inspect the area. After completion of the first pass as he was maneuvering in a turn back towards the field, he was checking the seeding pattern and making adjustments to the GPS system inside the cockpit. When he checked the gauges again, he realized that the airplane had lost airspeed and rolled out to a wings level configuration to regain the lost airspeed. The airplane was headed towards rising terrain. He jettisoned the remaining seed and made a controlled collision with terrain in a ravine. The airplane was destroyed in a post impact fire. He reported that he had preoccupied himself with less important flight duties at a critical time during the flight. The pilot reported no mechanical problems that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate clearance from mountainous terrain while maneuvering during an aerial application mission. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's diverted attention inside the cockpit. Full narrative available
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