On September 21, 2000, about 0830 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer G-164B, N3626T, veered into a cotton field during takeoff from a dirt canal bank near Corcoran, California. Vince Crop Dusters was operating the airplane as an aerial application flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 137. The commercial pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accident coordinator interviewed the pilot. The pilot said that during refueling, some Jet A fuel was spilled on the windshield. He cleaned the windshield and attempted a takeoff. Residual fuel started collecting on the windshield and he aborted the takeoff. He cleaned the windshield more thoroughly and attempted a second takeoff.

The pilot said that as the airplane reached flying speed, fluid once again collected on the windshield and obscured his vision. He was departing to the east into the rising sun and lost his forward visual reference. He said there was not sufficient runway remaining to abort; therefore, he continued the takeoff. The airplane gained less than 5 feet of altitude and drifted about 20 degrees left. The airplane collided with cotton plants about 2 feet tall, and continued about 300 feet through the field before coming to rest. The right main gear and spray boom separated, and the upper wing partially separated.

The accident coordinator determined that operations had been under way from this location for approximately 2 hours prior to the accident. The coordinator observed a substance on the windshield. He said the fuel tanks and spray hopper appeared to be ruptured. He interviewed first responders who reported the fuel cap was secure in place when they arrived, but they observed very little fuel in the tank.

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