HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On September 3, 2004 at 2005 eastern daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-401B, N3047A, registered to and operated by East River Flying Service LLC, collided with the ground in a cotton field after crop dusting in Bainbridge, Georgia. The aerial application flight was operated under the provision of Title 14 CFR Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from a private airstrip in Bainbridge, Georgia on September 3, 2004 at 1910.
The pilot was returning from his last aerial application for the day. A witness saw the airplane flying north around 800 feet above ground level. Witnesses then saw the airplane descend approximately to 500 feet above ground level. Witnesses state that the airplane pitched 45-degrees nose up and then began to roll to the left until the airplane was fully inverted. From the inverted attitude, the nose of the airplane went down into a 90-degree angle, and collided with the ground.
Review of information on file with the FAA's Airmen Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma revealed the pilot was a certificated airline transport pilot (ATP) with ratings for airplane multiengine land/ATP and airplane single engine/commercial pilot. The ATP certificate was issued on April 28, 2004. The pilot was also a certified flight instructor with ratings for airplane single engine. The flight instructor certificate was issued on May 23, 2004. The pilot held a valid second class medical certificate issued on July 6, 2004. The pilot's medical record revealed a total of 4300 civilian flight hours on file.
The airplane was a fixed wing, single engine, 1997 Air Tractor AT-401B. It weighed 7860 pounds and had one seat installed. The airplane was equipped with one R1340-AN-1 reciprocating 600 horsepower engine manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. The maintenance records were reviewed and the last annual inspection was conducted on February 28, 2004. The airframe total time was 1004.5 and the overhauled Pratt & Whitney R1340-AN-1 engine was installed. Airframe and engine records were found to be compliant with all applicable Airworthiness Directives.
The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was in Marianna, Florida approximately 30 miles west of the accident site. The 2353 Zulu weather observation from Marianna was: winds 050 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, cloud condition few at 4900 feet above ground level, broken at 6000 feet above ground level, temperature 84 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 72 degrees Fahrenheit and altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.
Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane and all of its components were together in the middle of a field. The airplane's propeller and engine were buried into the ground in a 75-degree angle. The fuselage was crushed inward. The tail was separated from the empennage. The right horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizers were still attached to the tail. The left stabilizer was detached from the tail. The flaps were found in the "up" position. There were no fractured bolts found. There was flight control continuity throughout the airplane.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Division of Forensic Sciences of the State of Georgia, Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted the postmortem examination of the pilot on September 5, 2004. The reported cause of death was "blunt force trauma." The Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed no carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol detected in the pilot's system. There was diphenhydramine detected in the liver and 0.034 ug/ml diphenhydramine detected in blood.