On June 24, 1997, about 1630 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502, N45461, registered to the Tunico, Inc., collided with terrain during a takeoff from an airstrip used for agricultural operations near Tunica, Mississippi. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot was not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that to an FAA inspector that the air conditioner was on during the attempted takeoff from the southwest oriented dirt runway. The wind was from the southeast at 5 knots at the time. He applied power to takeoff and observed normal power and acceleration for the outside temperature. At rotation the airplane became airborne momentarily then settled to the ground in a bean field. The airplane then bounced into the air and at this time he activated the dump valve to dump the 3,000-pound chemical load. The airplane descended into the bean field and came to rest. The pilot further stated to the FAA inspector that the airplane was probably overloaded for the wind and temperature conditions and there was no engine failure or malfunction.

A weather observation taken about 21 minutes after the accident from an airport located about 31 nautical miles from the accident site reported that the temperature was 93 degrees F, and the altimeter setting was 30.00 inHg. The density altitude was calculated to be 2,400 feet based on this information and a elevation of 200 feet at the accident site.

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