NTSB Identification: WPR09LA374
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 29, 2009 in Firebaugh, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/2010
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT-301, registration: N23189
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 single-engine airplane experienced a total loss of engine power five minutes after takeoff during an aerial application flight. The pilot attempted a forced landing to an alfalfa field he was preparing to spray, but after touching down, the airplane impacted an angle ditch and nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its empennage. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspector examined the airplane on the morning of the accident and reported finding that both wing tanks were void of any fuel, and there was no evidence of any leakage. When the inspector revealed this to the pilot, the pilot stated that company personnel had fueled the airplane about 10 minutes prior to the accident. The pilot added that company policy is for the ground crew to fuel after each load, normally with 30 gallons of fuel to each wing tank while loading the plane with pesticide. The pilot supplied a company fuel log that indicated the airplane was fueled 4 times on the day of the accident. A subsequent examination and engine run performed by an airframe and power plant mechanic revealed no anomalies with the engine that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion that was due to the failure of company ground personnel to refuel the airplane. Contributing to the accident was unsuitable terrain for a forced landing. Full narrative available
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