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On May 16, 2010, about 1445 mountain daylight time, an Ayres Corporation S2R airplane, N241WD, was substantially damaged following impact with a power line and terrain near Rushville, Nebraska. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The local, aerial application flight departed Gordon Municipal Airport (GRN), Gordon, Nebraska and was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
The airplane was scheduled to apply chemicals to a mostly rectangular, north-south aligned field. The field was about 3,850 feet long by 500 feet wide. The field widened to about 1,200 feet wide on the southern, one-third of the field. The airplane operator provided a track of the accident flight, which was obtained from a SATLOC global positioning unit. The information did not include altitude or airspeed information. The track showed the airplane departed GRN and approached the field from the northeast on a southwest heading and over-flew the north end of the field. The plane then made a left turn and circled just south of the south end of the field, flew northbound parallel to the field and turned southbound beginning the first pass over the field. While flying south over the field the airplane struck an unmarked, two stranded power line that crossed the field running east-west. A witness observed the airplane flying and applying chemicals in a southern direction when it hit the power line, turned sideways, and then turned upside down and impacted the ground about one-half mile from the power lines.
The pilot, age 44, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, and a second class airman medical certificate issued April 25, 2010, with no limitations. According to operator supplied information, the pilot had 1,789 total flight hours and 300 hours in type of airplane.
The single seat, low-wing, fixed gear airplane, serial number 2410R, was manufactured in 1976. It was powered by a Garrett TPE331-1-1-1012 engine, serial number P-34016, rated at 665 horsepower. The last inspection was an annual type on February 17, 2010, at 3,743 total time airframe (TTAF). The airplane was equipped with a wire deflector cable which stretched between the top and back of the cockpit and the top of the vertical stabilizer. It was painted mostly yellow with a white cockpit and black paint on the top of the engine cowling.
Weather at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, at 1252 was winds calm, visibility 10 miles, and overcast skies at 4,700 feet mean sea level.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted terrain following contact with a two-strand power line. The wreckage came to rest in an inverted position. The engine and propeller were separated from the fuselage and were located under the fuselage and left wing. All three propeller blades were bent aft and exhibited S-type bending Both wings exhibited bending of the spars. A portion of the rudder, from the top of the rudder to the middle attach point, and the fiberglass top to the vertical stabilizer were located on the ground near the area of the power line strike. The remainder of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were found intermingled with the tail wheel assembly. The wire deflector cable exhibited deformation and bending about one foot forward of its attach point on the vertical stabilizer. There was damage to the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer about 12 inches below the wire deflector attach point. Yellow paint smears were located on portions of the damaged power lines.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Regional West Medical Center, Western Pathology Consultants, P.C., on May 18, 2010. The cause of death was attributed to blunt force trauma received in an aircraft accident.
The FAA, Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. Testing for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, drugs, and volatiles were negative.