FTW04LA153
FTW04LA153

On June 7, 2004, approximately 1530 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-402 single-engine agricultural airplane, N182PB, registered to and operated by Farmers' Flying Service of Coy, Arkansas, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering near Tucker, Arkansas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight originated from a private airstrip near Tucker, Arkansas, approximately 1500.

The pilot was reportedly flying his 24th aerial application flight of the day and had just completed spraying the field on an east and west pattern. The pilot started "trimming" the field on a north to south pattern. Three witnesses, located on a farm road adjacent to the accident site, reported observing the airplane "go straight up" before "barrel rolling to the ground." A fourth witness located near the accident site, observed the airplane as it was flying over a tree line, and stated that the airplane was "gaining altitude when it [the airplane] suddenly nose dived straight down to the ground in a slow spin."

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate on November 3, 2003, with a limitation stating "Not valid for color signal control." The pilot's most recent biennial flight review was satisfactorily completed on November 25, 2002. The operator reported that the pilot had accumulated approximately 2,359 total flight hours, of which 1,806 hours were in the accident make and model airplane.

According to an FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, the airplane came to rest upright approximately 30 feet from a tree line in the southwest corner of the field that the pilot was spraying. All of the wrecakge and debris remained within a circular area, approximately 25 feet in diameter. A ground scar, approximately 25-feet in length, was found adjacent to the wreckage and had multiple slash marks corresponding to spray nozzles from the airplane's left wing. The ground scars were consistent with the airplane impacting the ground in a flat, slightly nose-down attitude.

Examination of the airplane revealed both wings were buckled along their respective spans and remained attached to the fuselage. The leading edges of both wings wwere compressed upward from the wing spar. Multiple areas of the metal wing skin were partially separated from the wing frames at the rivet lines. The ailerons and flaps remained partially connected to their respective mounts. The flap actuator measured 1 3/8" witch equated to be approximately 10 degrees down. The right main landing gear remained attached to the fuselage and was collapsed into the wing structure. The left main landing gear was separated. The fuselage was compressed downwards and buckled along its entire length. Fuel was observed in the fuel lines to the engine. The engine remained partially attached to the fuselage. Flight control cables, rods, and flight control surfaces did not show pre-imapct anomalies.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, however, the results have not yet been released. The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute's (CAMI) Forensic and Accident Research Center examined toxicilogy specimens specimens taken by the medical examiner. Toxicological tests of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, alcohol, and drugs.

At 1553, the Grider Field Airport (PBF), near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, located approximately 18 miles south of the accident site reported wind from 150 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, scattered clouds at 4,100 feet above ground level, temperature 87 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of Mercury.

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