ATL04CA185
ATL04CA185

On September 15, 2004, about 1205 eastern daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-502B, N90375, registered to and operated by Gladeview Aerial Service, Inc., collided with a dirt berm following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from a private strip in Belle Glade, Florida. The agricultural flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 137 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot reported no injuries, and the airplane received substantial damage. The flight departed Belle Glade, Florida, about 1200 on September 15, 2004.

Prior to the flight, the airplane was topped off with 31 gallons JP-5 from the operator's above-ground 8,000-gallon supply tank. The pilot stated he departed the airstrip from the south and was at 500 feet above ground level when the airplane lost engine power. The pilot's attempts to restore engine power were unsuccessful, and the pilot executed an emergency landing on a dirt road. During landing roll, the airplane's right wing tip collided with a dirt berm, and the airplane spun around and rolled tail-first into a ditch.

Examination of the airplane revealed damage to the main landing gear, outboard right wing spar, and empennage. Approximately two quarts of water was retrieved from each wing tank of the airplane, approximately one pint of water was retrieved from the fuel filter bowl, and the engine fuel filter was found saturated with water. The pilot stated he did not sump the airplane's fuel tanks prior to departure.

Examination of the operator's above-ground 8,000-gallon supply tank revealed water in the tank and tank filter. The pilot stated the supply tank had not been used to fuel any airplanes since before Hurricane Frances impacted the Belle Glade, Florida, area with heavy rain and high winds on September 5, 2004. After the water was discovered in the supply tank, the pilot examined the tank and reported the vent lids on the tank could be lifted open, the pick-up tube for the nozzle extended to the bottom of the tank, and the tank was not equipped with a means by which it could be sumped or drained from its lowest point.

A review of the FAA Approved AT-502B Airplane Flight Manual revealed in Section 2, Normal Procedures, Preflight, Walk-Around Inspection, Item 11 stated: "Drain left wing fuel sump, drain header tank sump and valve sump," and Item 24 stated, "Drain right-hand wing fuel sump."

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