MIA96LA232
MIA96LA232

On September 24, 1996, about 1642 central daylight time, an Air Tractor, Inc., AT-402, N9130M, registered to Southeastern Aircraft, crashed during an aerial application flight near Slocomb, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight. The commercial-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated about 1620 from Madrid, Alabama.

According to a witness who owns the property being treated, he observed the airplane during a spray pass flying eastbound about 30 feet above ground level. He then observed the airplane initiate a turn to the left to reverse direction and described the angle of bank to be slightly greater than he has seen before during spray operations. He then lost sight of the airplane and heard the impact. He further stated that he heard the engine the entire time and it sounded normal.

According to an FAA inspector who examined the accident site, the airplane impacted the ground inverted while on a heading of about 325 degrees magnetic. The initial impact ground scar was about 2 1/2 feet deep and the wreckage path was about 300 feet long. The FAA inspector also stated that sufficient fuel to sustain engine operation was on board the airplane at the time of the accident. Examination of the airplane by a representative of the airframe manufacturer revealed no evidence of flight control preimpact failure or malfunction. The flaps were determined to be fully retracted and the propeller was separated aft of the propeller crankshaft flange. Visual examination of the three-bladed propeller revealed torsional twisting. Examination of recovered cockpit instruments revealed the fuel pressure indicator was in the green range, the altimeter indicated 1,260 feet, and the elevator trim was slightly aft of the takeoff range toward the nose-up position. The engine was recovered for further examination by the FAA and representatives of the manufacturer. A copy of the representatives report is an attachment to this report.

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Alfredo A. Paredes, M.D., State Medical Examiner. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. Toxicological analysis of specimens of the pilot was performed by the FAA Accident and Research Laboratory, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The results of the FAA analysis was negative for all tested drugs, volatiles, cyanide, and carbon monoxide. The results of the Alabama analysis was negative for all tests.

According to FAA records, the pilot was involved in a previous accident during spray operations in which the airplane entered a high speed stall during a swath turnaround. The airplane then cartwheeled after a wing contacted the ground.

The airplane minus the retained engine was released to Mr. Harry Brooks of Carson-Brooks, Inc., on November 21, 1996. The retained engine was released to Mr. Thayer M. Marts, an attorney for Gardner, on June 6, 1997.

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