FTW04LA179
FTW04LA179

On July 10, 2004, approximately 1300 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-401 single-engine agricultural airplane, N10061, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Winnsboro, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. The airplane was registered and operated by Midway Farms, Inc., of Winnsboro, Louisiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. The local flight originated from the Winnsboro Municipal Airport (F89), near Winnsboro, Louisiana, approximately 1230.

The 9,155-hour pilot, in a written statement in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), stated that after he had finished an aerial application of insecticide in a field approximately 5 miles away from the airport, he pulled up and out and turned 180 degrees to the right to return to the airport. At an altitude of approximately 100 to 200 feet above the ground, the engine lost power. The pilot further stated that, due to the low altitude, he could not turn much in either direction. Subsequently, the pilot initiated a forced landing into a bean field, and struck a drainage canal.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, stated that the pilot took off with approximately one-quarter of a tank of fuel in the left wing and approximately one-half of a tank of fuel in the right wing, and "ran it dry." Examination revealed that there was no fuel in the right wing tank. The pilot reported to the inspector that he had been making all his turns to the left, and that the fuel drained from the right fuel tank to the left fuel tank. Further examination revealed structural damage to the fuselage, and the right landing gear had collapsed.

According to the airplane owner's manual, "the fuel valve handle is located within easy reach of the pilot and is marked 'Main' and 'Off.' There can be no tank selection since both tanks are interconnected."

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