FTW99LA239
FTW99LA239

On August 25, 1999, at 1430 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-401 agricultural airplane, N15119, was substantially damaged during impact with wires and terrain while maneuvering near Hart, Texas. The airplane was registered to and operated by Central Plains Spraying, Inc., of Hart, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight originated approximately 1400 from the operator's private airstrip.

During a telephone interview conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that he was spraying fields in the local area. At the west end of the fields, there were power lines oriented north-south, supported by two poles. A pond was located below the power lines and between the support poles. According to the pilot, the pond was a little larger than usual due to the extra rainfall the area had experienced this year. The pilot added that some of the crops had been destroyed because the pond area had expanded. The pilot, therefore, decided that he would have enough room to fly over the power lines instead of flying under them, which is what his usual practice was for these fields. As the pilot initiated a westbound climb over the lines, he realized that he "misjudged his ability to clear the top wires." Subsequently, the pilot elected to "dive down under the wires." As the pilot maneuvered under the wires, he had to divert to the left around an 8 foot tree located below the power lines. He added that he "over-controlled the airplane while turning to the left" and then "felt a hard jerk." The pilot could not recall any more of the event.

The airplane came to rest inverted in a field 211 feet west of the power lines. The FAA inspector, who visited the accident site, stated that the right wing had "clipped" the power lines, and the left wing subsequently impacted the ground below the power lines. According to the inspector, the wing spars and forward fuselage sustained structural damage. Additional damage was sustained to the propeller, the engine, and the hopper.

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