FTW00LA074
FTW00LA074

On January 25, 2000, at 1020 central standard time, an Air Tractor AT-401 agricultural airplane, N91968, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power on takeoff from the John H. Hooks Memorial Airport near Rayville, Louisiana. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Bulldog Flying Service, Inc., of Oak Ridge, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the aircraft, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, this was the airplane's first flight of the day. The airplane's engine was started and allowed to operate for 45 minutes due to the cold weather (temperature 36 degrees F). The pilot taxied the airplane out to the taxiway and performed engine run-up and magneto checks. All checks were "okay," and the airplane was taxied to the loading area where 325 gallons of 24D chemical were loaded. The pilot taxied the airplane to the runway and performed another engine run-up. The magneto check was "okay," and the oil temperature was in the green. The pilot stated that he started the takeoff roll by "power[ing] up" to 36 inches manifold pressure and 2,250 rpm. After liftoff from runway 36, during a turn, at about 150 feet agl, the engine lost power. The pilot dumped the load of chemical and initiated a forced landing to a "fresh rowed cotton field." The airplane touched down perpendicular to the rows, and during the landing roll, the main landing gear "sunk" into the soft ground, and the aircraft nosed over coming to rest inverted.

Examination of the aircraft by an FAA inspector revealed that the vertical stabilizer was partially separated, and the fuselage was damaged in the cockpit area. An examination of the aircraft's engine by the inspector revealed that "the #6 cylinder had a preexisting crack."

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