FTW98LA006
FTW98LA006

On October 3, 1997, at 1600 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-602 agricultural airplane, N602GB, registered to and operated by G&B Aerial Applications, Inc., of Plains, Texas, was substantially damaged when it collided with a vehicle during initial takeoff climb at the Yoakum County Airport near Plains. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 137 local aerial application flight which was originating when the accident occurred.

During a telephone interview, conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, and in the attached NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, the operator and the pilot reported that the runway was closed for resurfacing. They further reported that on the morning of the accident, they both spoke to the supervisor of the runway work crew who stated that it was "ok" to use the runway. The pilot taxied the airplane onto runway 35 for takeoff and noticed that a pickup truck used by the work crew was parked "halfway down the runway." He turned on the airplane's landing lights to attract the truck driver's attention and waited "at least 10 minutes." The pilot then observed the driver get into the truck and saw the brake lights of the truck illuminate. Subsequently, he began his takeoff roll. The airplane had reached a speed of approximately 70 mph when the pilot realized the pickup truck had not moved and saw the driver exit the truck. He attempted to avoid the collision; however, the left wing of the airplane struck the top of the truck, and the airplane then impacted the ground. The operator reported that the airplane's fuselage, tail section, and both wings sustained structural damage.

According to the written statements of witnesses, who were members of the runway work crew, the airplane was airborne when it collided with the truck. Following the impact, the airplane "veered left and spun [around] several times" before coming to rest in a field west of the runway. One of the workers, who was near the pickup truck, stated that when he "saw and heard [the] plane coming," he "ran across the runway to move the truck." As he started to open the truck's door, he realized the airplane was "too close," and he ran to the west side of the runway.

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