NTSB Identification: ERA09LA385
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 07, 2009 in Brinson, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/03/2010
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-301, registration: N8587S
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
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 pilot was progressing with his aerial application training. He was supposed to depart the airport, perform steep turns and flight at minimum controllable airspeed, drop water at a designated spot about 3/4 mile from the airport, and return for landing. The airplane was observed about 5 miles west of the airport, in level flight from north to south. The airplane then made a left U-turn and flew from south to north. The airplane made another left turn, toward the west, and started climbing. The airplane then released water and instantly began a fast spiral straight down to the ground, with the water following. Witnesses heard loud, continuous engine noise throughout the accident sequence and several examinations of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The pilot received his private pilot certificate about 5 weeks prior to the accident and had conducted his previous training in an airplane with less than one-third the horsepower and one-half the weight-carrying capacity as the accident airplane. The pilot had accumulated 2 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane when the accident occurred. Additionally, both airplanes displayed a tendency to pitch up during a water drop maneuver, though the accident airplane displayed this characteristic more severely due to its higher weight. This tendency would require a pilot to aggressively push the flight control stick forward, near the stop, to counteract the force.
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, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the make and model airplane. Full narrative available
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