ATL01LA063A
ATL01LA063A

On June 2, 2001, at 0800 central daylight time, an Air Tractor 502B, N257LA, and a Cessna 188, N731KG, collided in flight two miles north of Anguilla, Mississippi. The agricultural flights were operated by Nick's Flying Service, Inc., and Anguilla Flying Service, Inc., respectively, under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both airplanes were destroyed, and the Cessna was consumed by post-crash fire. Both commercial pilots were fatally injured. The Air Tractor departed a private airstrip at Rolling Fork, Mississippi, about 0735, and the Cessna departed a private airstrip in Anguilla, Mississippi, about 0750.

According to information recovered from Anguilla Flying Service, Inc., the Cessna had departed the private airstrip about 10 minutes before the accident, and was spraying a field adjacent to the east side of the field over which the collision occurred. The review of information from the operator revealed that the Cessna appeared to have been on a easterly heading for the initial swath run to a field about 500 feet east of the in-flight collision.

According to information recovered from Nick's Flying Service, Inc., the Air Tractor had completed an aerial application operation to a field four miles north of the accident site, and was enroute to another field miles south of the accident site. Reportedly, the Air Tractor, the Air Tractor was flying enroute at a low altitude between the two locations, and the south bound direct flight path placed the airplanes over the accident site. The altitude at which the collisions occurred was not determined, however the Cessna was operating in accordance with FAR Part 137.49 for altitude and object clearance.

Examination of the accident site showed that, the in-flight collision resulted in both airplanes colliding with the ground in a steep, nose-down, nearly wings-level attitude. The Cessna was consumed by post-crash fire.

Further examination of the accident site found the Air Tractor wreckage approximately 947 feet south of what was determined to be the mid-air impact point. The Cessna wreckage was located approximately 426 feet east of the mid-air impact point. The airplanes' ground-impact points were approximately 1,004 feet apart. An area approximately 50 feet in diameter contained the Air Tractor's outboard piece of the right horizontal stabilizer and the right elevator, as well as the Cessna's right wingtip faring and a portion of the right aileron. Also present were scattered paint chips, rivet heads, and small pieces of sheet metal.

Examination of the wreckage also revealed that the propellers assemblies from both airplanes showed evidence of power-on rotation at impact. Continuity of flight controls was not established on the Cessna due to extreme fire damage. Continuity of flight controls was confirmed on the Air Tractor. No mechanical irregularities and no pre-collision failures were noted of either airplane during the investigation.

The sun inclination and azimuth for the accident location was 48.8 degrees inclination at 93.2 degrees.

Dr. Steven T. Hayne, FCAP, of the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office, Brandon, Mississippi, conducted postmortem examinations of both pilots on June 3, 2001.

The FAA's Toxicology and Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on both pilots. Forensic toxicology performed on specimens from the Air Tractor pilot detected 0.047 (ug/ml, ug/g) diazepam (valium-sedative) in the blood, 0.06 (ug/ml, ug/g) nordiazepam in the blood, 0.172 (ug/ml, ug/g) nordiazepam in the urine, as well as the presence of temazepam and oxazepam in the urine. Forensic toxicology performed on specimens from the Cessna pilot detected quinine in the kidney and liver.

A review of the Federal Aviation Regulations disclosed that when converging airplanes at the same altitude, the airplane to the right has the right -a-way. The FARs further states that the minimum safe altitude over other than congested areas is 500 feet above the surface except over sparsely populated areas, and in those cases the aircraft may not operate closer that 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure (FAR Part 91,113, 91.119).

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