ATL02LA146
ATL02LA146

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 31, 2002, at 1315 central daylight time, a WSK PZL Mielec, M-18A, N6236M, owned and operated by Valley Air Applicator, collided with the ground while maneuvering for an aerial application swath run in Indianola, Mississippi. The aerial application flight was operated under the provisions of Title 49 CFR Part 137 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot was fatally injured. The aerial application flight departed Indianola, Mississippi, at 1300, on July 31, 2002.

According to the operator, the pilot departed Indianola Airport en route to spray a field about 4 miles west of the airport. The airplane was next seen by witnesses at a fish processing plant on state route 82 west. The witnesses saw the airplane as it flew low over a tree line. One witness reported seeing blue/gray smoke coming from the engine compartment. Another witness reported that there was no smoke coming from the airplane. However, both witnesses agreed that the airplane entered a nose low turning attitude before colliding with the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate, with limitations, and a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot certificate limitation states the following: "Carrying passengers in airplanes for hire is prohibited at night and on cross-country flights of more than 50 nautical miles". Review of records on file with FAA aero medical records revealed the pilot held a second-class medical certificate issued on June 12, 2001, with restriction of "must wear corrective lenses". Review of pilot logbooks revealed the pilot had accumulated 10,000 total flight hours, including 300 flight hours in the accident airplane make and model, and 350 flight hours in the last 90 days.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1993 WSK-PZL Mielec M-18A, restricted agriculture and pest control airplane was powered by a 967-horse power Pezetel AS-621R-118 engine. Performance data showed that the M-18A has a stall speed of 54 knot. According to the operator, the engine had undergone an overhaul about 12 hours before the accident and was installed on the airframe on July 8, 2002. The airframe annual inspection was completed on February 25, 2002. .

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located in a cotton field approximately three miles west of the Indianola Municipal Airport. Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane was confined to an area about the dimensions of the airframe. The airplane rested in a nose down attitude with the engine buried in the ground. The empennage, vertical stabilizer, and horizontal stabilizer were not damaged. There was a large depression in the ground just behind the wreckage at the initial point of impact. Two of the four propeller blades were attached to the propeller hub. The third propeller blade was found in the depression made by the engine. The fourth propeller blade was not recovered. A depression just aft of the left wing indicated the initial point of impact of the left wing. Flight control continuity could not be established. Only traces of fuel were found in the wing tanks. The engine fuel sump/drain was checked and it was found to be full of fuel. The wing assemblies sustained perpendicular crush damage to the leading edges.

The wreckage was recovered from the field where further examination of the airframe failed to disclose additional examination was conducted. The engine assembly was taken to and engine repair facility where a teardown examination was conducted. The examination disclosed that the engine assembly sustained impact damage throughout the drive train of the engine. No mechanical problem was noted during the engine examination.

The hopper gate, battery, and oil cooler were found approximately 20 feet in front of the airplane. The spray booms of the airplane were still attached to the airplane on the inboard ends and were extended ahead of the airplane on the outboard ends.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Medical Examiner of Sunflower County, conducted postmortem examination of the pilot on July 31, 2002, at the Rankin County Morgue, in Pearl, Mississippi, The cause of death was reported as blount force injuries. The Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. No carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs, were detected in the specimens.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The fourth propeller blade was recovered in September of 2002 while the field where the airplane crashed was being plowed.



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