On August 8, 2010, at 1305 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-802A, N802BG, registered to and operated by Alan East Aviation, LLC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while making aerial application maneuvers near Lindsay, Nebraska. The pilot, the sole occupant on board the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by Alan East Aviation, LLC, Wichita Falls, Texas. The aerial application flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated from Norfolk, Nebraska, approximately 1150.

A farmer saw the airplane spraying fungicide on a 200-acre corn field near Lindsay, about 22 miles southwest of Norfolk. Then he saw the airplane spraying another field about 1 mile east of the previous field. The witness saw the airplane make three spray passes from north to south around 1245. He did not witness the accident.

When notified, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Lincoln Flight Standards District Office and representatives from Air Tractor and Pratt and Whitney-Canada responded to the accident site. According to the FAA inspector, the main body of wreckage was located between two corn fields approximately 1/2-mile north of the field that was being sprayed. The airplane had impacted the ground at a high nose-down impact angle. The engine and propeller were located on a dirt road just south of the wreckage. There was evidence of a post-impact fire. The flaps were found extended, the degree of flap extension was not determined.

According to the Air Tractor representative, the pilot had been a company test pilot for 13 years. His logbook showed 2,450 hours total flight time, and about 948 hours as a production test pilot. He had also logged about 250 hours as an aerial applicator.

According to Pratt and Whitney Canada, the engine’s 1st stage compressor blades and shroud, and the 2nd stage power turbine blade tips and shroud displayed heavy circumferential rubbing and scoring. The reduction gearbox propeller shaft coupling webs were fractured in torsion. There was no evidence of pre-impact malfunction or failure.

NTSB’s Chief Medical Officer was consulted. According to her factual report, the autopsy revealed dilated non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. The heart weighed 440 grams (gm). Normal cardiac size for a 74-inch male would be less than 355 gm. The coronary arteries had a normal external distribution and were found to have minimal (0-25%) stenosis (all 3 vessels). The atrial ventricular septae was intact and there was severe 4-chamber dilation. The left ventricular free wall measured 1.2 centimeters (cm), the interventricular septum measured 1.2 cm, and the right ventricular free wall measured 0.3 cm. The heart valves were unremarkable. No histologic evaluation was performed. Normal left ventricular wall is up to 1.5 cm and normal right ventricular wall thickness is 0.2- 0.4cm.

The toxicology report noted the presence of dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough suppressant, in the urine but not in the blood. When taken alone and at recommended doses, dextromethorphan has minimal effects on the nervous system and has not been identified as a safety concern for motor vehicle drivers. It’s metabolite, dextrorphan, was found in both urine and blood.

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