FTW03LA098
FTW03LA098

On February 18, 2003, at 0830 central standard time, an Air Tractor AT-502B turbine powered agricultural airplane, N61802, was substantially damaged upon collision with a fence while attempting to takeoff from runway 15 at the Holly Grove Municipal Airport (2A6), near Holly Grove, Arkansas. The non-instrument rated commercial pilot, sole occupant of the aircraft, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Philips County Flying Service, Inc., of Marvell, Arkansas, and was being operated by Hill Flying Service, Inc., of Holly Grove, Arkansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The local aerial application flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported to the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, that the scheduled local aerial application of fertilizer was the first flight of the day. The airplane was topped off with fuel and the hopper was also filled with fertilizer. The pilot stated that he configured the airplane with full flaps for a full-length takeoff from runway 15 (4,500 feet by 50 feet wide).

During the takeoff roll, the airplane collided with a threshold light and overran the departure end of the runway. The airplane then impacted a support post for a 10-foot high airport perimeter fence. The airplane came to rest in the inverted position entangled in the fence. There was no fire and no fuel was spilled. The hopper was not compromised. Detailed examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector revealed structural damage to the fuselage and both wings. The empennage remained connected to the fuselage only by the control cables. The propeller remained attached to the engine mounts, and the turbine engine remained attached to the airframe.

The last annual inspection for the airframe and the engine was completed on January 29, 2003, at 3,071 aircraft hours, approximately 6 hours prior to the accident. In a telephone interview, the 16,000-hour pilot reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge that the engine was producing full takeoff power at the start of his takeoff roll; however, he suspected that "the engine power had decayed during the latter part of the takeoff roll, which he was not able to detect in time to abort the flight."

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