On September 25, 2002, about 1710 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 188B, N21689, registered to a private individual, collided with a wire then the ground during an aerial application flight near Pikeville, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight originated approximately 20 minutes earlier from the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport, Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The pilot stated that he was contracted to spray the Wayne Company Wildlife Club Pond which was dry and he surveyed the area on the day of the accident noting obstacles around the lake. After surveying the area he returned to where the airplane was based, loaded chemicals into the hopper tank, and departed. He reported that he sprayed all the big parts of the lake and proceeded to spray all the small parts of the lake (bends, coves, etc). While he was spraying one of the coves, he observed just before impact a 1/4 inch diameter cable that was stretched across the coves; the cable was approximately 15-20 feet above ground level. The tail wheel of the airplane collided with the cable which separated from one of the ends where it was connected to a tree. The flight continued and the cable wrapped around the tail damaging the elevator flight controls, vertical stabilizer, and right elevator. The flight continued and the airplane crashed in a corn field. The pilot advised the FAA inspector that there was no airframe or engine malfunction prior to the cable strike.

Examination of the accident site and the airplane by the FAA inspector revealed that the airplane collided with a .250 inch diameter unmarked cable that stretched between two trees of the southeast cove; the cable remained secured to one of the trees. Examination of the airplane revealed that the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were separated, and the forward spar of the vertical stabilizer was fractured. The rear spar of the vertical stabilizer was not fractured.

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