FTW97LA336
FTW97LA336

On August 30,1997, at approximately 1110 central daylight time, a Grumman G-164A airplane, N9807, registered to a private owner and operated by Russell Spraying Inc., was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground following impact with electrical wires while maneuvering near Muleshoe, Texas. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 137 agricultural flight, which originated from Muleshoe, Texas, at approximately 0900. No flight plan was filed for this flight.

The commercial pilot reported to the Safety Board, during a telephone interview, that he worked as a "cropduster" in Muleshoe, Texas. The pilot said that he had almost completed "cleaning the edges of his field," when the accident occurred. The pilot reported that near the end of his route on this particular field there is a bundle of four electrical wires, approximately 20 to 25 feet above ground level. He said that he normally flew over these wires, but on the afternoon of the accident he elected to fly under the wires.

As the pilot maneuvered to fly under the wires he observed a standpipe on the opposite side of the wires. The pilot was forced to make a decision, to hit either the wires or the standpipe; he elected to hit the wires. The pilot said that the aircraft initially contacted the wires with the left wing, knocking over a pole, which the electrical wires were connected to. Subsequently, the airplane cartwheeled approximately three times and came to rest in a near inverted position. According to the pilot, the airplane sustained structural damage to the left wing and the right main gear separated from the airplane.

The pilot reported weather conditions at the time of the accident as clear skies, visibility 20 statute miles and winds from the southwest at 4 to 5 knots.

The pilot had indicated that he accumulated a total of 15,000 hours, of which 2,000 were in the G-164A airplane.

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