FTW95LA143
FTW95LA143

On March 21, 1995, approximately 0930 central standard time, a Piper PA-18, N99MP, impacted terrain following a loss of control near Gail, Texas. The commercial pilot and his passenger sustained serious injuries. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the predator control flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, the flight departed the sheep ranch's airstrip at approximately 0745 hours on a predator control flight to shoot coyotes. The flight was conducted at approximately 200 feet AGL, with the passenger functioning as a gunner. At the time of the accident, the winds in the vicinity of the accident were reported gusting up to 40 knots.

The pilot added that the airplane was in a right turn, while he was keeping a coyote in sight, when the left wing "must have been caught in a thermal." He further added that he "pushed the nose over, gave it full aileron and used the rudder to bring the plane level." He then "pulled all the way back on the stick but the ground was too close."

The wreckage was found at approximately 1045 after local authorities received a 911 telephone call from the pilot who had walked from the isolated wreckage site to a roadway to get assistance. Both the pilot and his passenger sustained head injuries. There were no reported eyewitnesses to the accident.

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