FTW95LA162
FTW95LA162

On April 9, 1995, at 1415 central daylight time, a WSK PZL MIELEC M-18A Dromadier, N5277Z was destroyed while maneuvering near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the fire fighting flight.

During a telephone interview with the investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported the information in this paragraph. While over-flying the fire on a heading of 330 degrees, approximately 1000 feet mean sea level (MSL), he turned right to a heading of 180 degrees, and reduced power to descend. At approximately 100 feet above ground level (AGL), throttle was increased to level off and the engine did not respond. He switched hands on the control stick to pump the auxiliary fuel pump, which is located on the right side of the cockpit; however, the engine did not respond. He then switched his hands back in an attempt to activate the dump lever, which is located on the left side of the cockpit, to dump his load of water. Subsequently, he "stalled" the airplane and it began to "spin."

A witness in a spotter airplane reported observing the airplane start a slow turn to the southwest. He "looked at the fire and when he looked back at the tanker, it was in a slow roll to the left, headed to the north. The plane made two complete rolls before striking the ground at about a 45 degree to 60 degree angle."

During a telephone interview with the investigator-in-charge, the operator reported that while at the accident site, he observed "wood that was cut by the propeller." The airplane was destroyed by a post impact fire.

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