ATL99LA009
ATL99LA009

On October 12, 1998, at 0710 eastern daylight time, an Air Tractor AT502B, N6037N collided with an irrigation system during an aerial application swath run near Bainbridge, Georgia. The aerial application flight was operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 137, and visual flight rules. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident with no flight plan filed. The commercial pilot received serious injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight's departure time from Bainbridge, Georgia, was at 0707 on the same day.

The pilot stated that he was starting his day by spraying the same field he had sprayed the afternoon before, and did not expect to find the irrigation system parked in line with the power lines that separated the field. The system is always parked out into the field toward the South, so that the pilot could work under the power lines. The irrigation system operator, an eyewitness, was approximately 100 yards from the collision. The irrigation operator stated that the irrigation system was used the night before and was moved to the north side of the field and was oriented on east-west directions. It was parked along and parallel to the power lines. The airplane exited the north side of the field and turned 180 degrees to start spray a pattern from the North. The pilot was flying 10 feet above the ground, and had planned to fly under the power lines. The pilot was in the climb out phase of the operation when the airplane collided with the standing irrigation system located on the same field. The airplane subsequently hit the ground and burst into flames (see attached witness statement).

The pilot and the irrigation system operator agreed that better communication with each other could have prevented this accident. No mechanical problems with the airplane were reported by the pilot.

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