On July 31, 2001, about 1726 eastern daylight time, an Air Tractor Inc., AT-402A, N9072T, registered to, and operated by Air-Ag Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 137 agricultural flight, collided with a light pole, and crashed into a field in Whitakers, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, received serious injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The flight originated from Tarboro, North Carolina, the same day, about 1700.

According to a deputy with the Nash County Sheriff's Office, the pilot stated that he was spraying a tobacco field, and after his fifth or sixth pass across the field, he hit a telephone pole, and possibly some wires. The deputy further stated that the pilot said he knew that the pole and wires were there, but he had forgotten, and saw them just prior to impacting them with his left wing. The deputy said that the aircraft was destroyed as a result of the impact.

The pilot stated that it had been his eighth agricultural load of the day, and upon reaching the field to be treated he circled the field looking for obstructions as usual, and then began spraying operations. The pilot further stated that upon the third pass or swath the aircraft struck a power utility pole which was covered with vines, and located in a corner, surrounded by trees on two sides. The pilot said that the aircraft contacted the crop and ground within 100 feet after hitting the pole.

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