NTSB Identification: WPR10FA228
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 06, 2010 in Yuma, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA U206G, registration: N756WN
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The operator reported that the purpose of the flight was to release insects over selected agricultural fields, which the pilot would typically perform early in the morning, before the heat of the day. The operator provided flight track data for flights the pilot conducted on the three days prior to the accident. During all three flights, the airplane departed the airport, traveled to the west, circled two fields in the vicinity of the accident location, and then proceeded south. The recorded radar data of the accident flight depicted the airplane departing the airport and climbing to 500 feet above ground level (agl). The airplane proceeded west about 5 miles and then performed a left 270-degree turn. It then made a left-hand turn to the south-southwest and proceeded for 2 miles. About 8 minutes after departure, the airplane started a right-hand turn at 500 feet agl and after about 180 degrees through the turn, the radius of the turn started to decrease, and the altitude decreased to 100 feet agl. The final radar return was about 10 minutes after departure at 100 feet agl, in the vicinity of the accident site. A witness reported observing the airplane descend into the ground, which was followed by an explosion and fire.

Sunrise on the day of the accident occurred about the time of the accident, and the radar data depicted the airplane descending out of 500 feet agl as it was turning into the azimuth of the rising sun. Sun glare likely momentarily impeded the pilot’s situational awareness enough to result in a rapid loss of altitude while in a turn. A postaccident examination of the engine and airframe did not reveal anything that would have precluded the normal operation of the engine or flight controls.

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

The pilot's loss of situational awareness and failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering at low altitude. Contributing to the accident was glare from the rising sun.

Full narrative available

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