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On August 3, 2006, at 1430 central daylight time, a Piper PA-25-235, N4693Y, collided with a power line during an aerial application flight in Underwood, North Dakota. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions existed and there was no flight plan filed for the flight. The flight originated from the Washburn Municipal Airport (5C8), Washburn, North Dakota, at an undetermined time.
According to witnesses, the airplane was making swath runs to the north and south and was flying to the north when it contacted the power line. Witnesses reported the airplane flew under the power lines during previous passes.
The accident site was located in an open field, 1-1/2 miles north of the intersection of McLean County Roads 18 and 23. A 2-foot long section of the outboard portion of the right wing separated from the airplane and was located near the power lines. The height of the power line that was contacted was approximately 50 feet above the ground.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land airplane and instrument airplane. The pilot also held a certified flight instructor certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. The pilot's last airman medical examination was conducted on March 21, 2006, and he was issued a second-class medical certificate. The medical certificate contained the limitation that he was required to wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision.
An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Fargo, North Dakota, reviewed the pilot's records. According to that review, the pilot had a total of 12,482 hours of flight time, of which 81 hours were flown in the previous 90 days.
N4693Y was a Piper PA-25-235, serial number 25-4424. The single-engine, low-wing airplane was equipped for aerial application flights. The airplane was issued a restricted airworthiness certificate on September 15, 1967.
An inspector from the FAA FSDO in Fargo, North Dakota, reviewed the aircraft records. According to the records, the last aircraft inspection was an annual inspection in April 2006. The airplane had a total time of 6,261 hours and had been flown 89 hours since the last annual inspection.
A 235-horsepower Lycoming O-540-B2A engine, serial number L-11314-40, powered the airplane. The last inspection on the engine was an annual inspection in April 2006. The records indicated the engine had accumulated 466 hours since it was last overhauled.
A weather observation station located at the Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS), Bismarck, North Dakota, about 50 statute miles southeast of the accident site, reported the weather conditions at 1452 as: wind variable at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 33 degrees Celsius, dew point 4 degrees Celsius, barometric pressure 29.96 inches of mercury.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the North Dakota Forensic Examiner's Office, Bismarck, North Dakota, on August 4, 2006.
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the pilot. The toxicology results for the pilot were negative for all tests performed with the exception of Naproxen, which was detected in the blood sample.
Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory medication available by prescription and over the counter (often known by the trade name Aleve) and used to reduce pain and inflammation.
A party to the investigation was the FAA.