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On June 6, 1995, at 1350 mountain daylight time, a Weatherly 620B, N20119, collided with power lines while maneuvering near Flagler, Colorado. The pilot received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for this local aerial application flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 137. The flight departed Flagler at approximately 1340.
According to a witness, spraying operations were being conducted with the swath runs from west to east with the flagmen located at the west end of the field being worked. A double power line approximately 65 feet in height ran from north to south. The aircraft was observed flying east. The flagers reported that the aircraft was conducting a swath run and struck the power line with the landing gear. One flager stated that it "looked as if the plane stopped in the air and hung from the wire." The flager further stated that the airplane "fell nose first into the ground then flipped on its top." The aircraft came to rest inverted facing opposite the direction of travel.
A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he received the original commercial certificate on January 22, 1990. The logbook did not indicate flight time in the Weatherly 620B aircraft.
Company personnel reported that the pilot had flown the airplane for 183 hours. The pilot was on his third aerial application flight of the day when the accident occurred.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was a farm field with a county road oriented north/south on the west end of the field. A double transmission line paralleled the road approximately 30 feet east of the road. The west static line was severed and the east static line was pulled out at the pole about 300 feet south of the final resting site of the airplane.
Wire cutters were found installed on the main landing gear of the aircraft and the left main landing gear cutter had damage consistent with striking a wire and cadmium transfer was found on the left cutter.
A gouge in the field containing propeller slashes was found 97 feet east of the powerline. The engine, which was separated from the aircraft, was found 27 feet east of the gouge. The propeller blades remained attached at the hub and two of the blades were bent opposite the direction of rotation and exhibited twisting and bending on the outboard third of the blades. The fuselage, wings, and empennage remained intact and came to rest on a measured magnetic heading of 270 degrees. The cockpit area was crushed inward from the top and occupant restraints were in place and anchored.
Control continuity was established from the empennage forward to the cockpit area. Fuel was found in both fuel tanks with the right tank selected. (See attached wreckage diagram and photographs.)
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy and toxicology was conducted by the El Paso County Coroner at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Toxicological testing was also performed at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The El Paso County toxicology found that the pilot's blood contained 2,4-D; however, the examination conducted by CAMI found no evidence of 2,4-D. This difference was attributed to contamination at the autopsy site by 2,4-D which saturated the pilot's clothing.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The power line, which ran at a 90 degree angle to the aircraft's direction of travel, was a double transmission array with wood poles and cross arms. The west static line was severed, three double poles were fractured near the top and approximately one third mile of double transmission cable was down. According to the power company, the three transmission lines were 69KVA each. The transmission array was approximately 55 feet above the ground and the point of contact and the static lines were 3/8 inch high tensile steel with a cadmium coating and about 70 feet above the ground at the point of contact. Each span was 545 feet.
Research of power line marking requirements was conducted by the investigator-in-charge. These lines did not meet the FAA guidelines in either height or span to require marking.
The airplane was released to Mr. Dallas Saffer, President, Flagler Aerial Spraying, Inc., on June 6, 1995. No parts were retained.