NTSB Identification: ERA12CA003
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 04, 2011 in Fort Pierce, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/27/2011
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-502B, registration: N90805
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 taxied the airplane to the end of the runway with the flaps set to three-fourths in preparation for takeoff. As the airplane accelerated down the runway, the tail of the airplane did not rise as the pilot expected, so he extended the flaps fully. As the airplane reached the end of the runway, the pilot believed that the airplane "did not want to fly." He elaborated that, while the engine instruments indicated no abnormalities, the engine was not providing the amount of power he expected and that the airplane's performance was sluggish. He attempted to jettison the loaded chemical to reduce the airplane's weight, but when he attempted to actuate the load-jettison handle, it would not move. As the airplane approached tall trees beyond the end of the runway and with the airplane nearing a stalled condition, the pilot attempted to land the airplane in an agricultural field ahead. During the landing, the airplane nosed over, resulting in substantial damage to the nose, empennage, and left wing. A postaccident examination found no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the engine and that the load jettison mechanism functioned normally. An accurate determination of the airplane's weight at the time of the accident could not be calculated due to variances in the values provided by the pilot and the operator.

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

The pilot's delayed decision to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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