On June 28, 2011, about 1800 central daylight time, a Cessna A188A, N1588M, impacted the ground and burned after takeoff from a private airstrip near Estelline, South Dakota. The pilot received minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage due to the impact and the postimpact fire. The airplane was operated by Thompson Farm Air LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he recalled taking off from the private airstrip, but had no recollection of the accident itself.

The owner of the aircraft stated that the pilot took off and turned to the north-northwest and crashed approximately 0.5 miles northeast of the airstrip. The winds were about 10 knots out of the southeast. The left wing tip hit approximately 50 yards from the final resting spot of the aircraft. The airplane's fuel tanks had just been filled and the load was approximately 125 gallons of chemical in the hopper tank.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, helicopter, instrument airplane and instrument helicopter ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single engine, airplane multiengine, helicopter, instrument airplane, and instrument helicopter ratings. He reported having 1,400 hours of total flight experience with 67 hours in Cessna A188A airplanes.


The airplane was a Cessna A188A airplane bearing serial number 18800688. It was a low wing, strut braced monoplane with a fixed conventional (taildragger) landing gear configuration. The airplane was powered by a Continental IO-520-D engine bearing serial number 159648-70D. The engine was rated to produce 300 horsepower. The airplane was used for agricultural spraying operations.

The airplaneā€™s most recent annual inspection was completed on April 8, 2011. The airframe had accumulated 3,993 hours total time, and the engine had accumulated 649 hours since overhaul as of the date of the annual inspection.


At 1753, the recorded weather conditions at the Watertown Regional Airport, about 20 miles northwest of the accident site were: Wind 180 degrees at 9 knots; 10 miles visibility; clear skies; temperature 24 degrees Celsius; dew point 11 degrees Celsius.


Examination of the airplane was conducted by Federal Aviation Administration personnel. The airplane came to rest in an upright position. The left main landing gear had separated from the fuselage and the right main landing gear was partially separated and folded under the main wreckage. The aft fuselage was bent to the left at a position just aft of the pilot compartment. The tail surfaces remained attached to the aft fuselage. The tail surfaces exhibited minimal impact damage, but had varying amounts of fire damage. The forward portion of the fuselage, including the pilot compartment, exhibited impact and fire damage. The steel tube framework comprising the forward fuselage structure was deformed from impact forces. The aluminum covering of the forward fuselage had melted.

The right wing remained attached to the fuselage and was predominately intact. The right aileron and flap remained attached to the wing. The left wing was separated from the airplane and came to rest adjacent to the main wreckage. The left aileron and flap remained attached to the wing. The wing tip fairing had separated from the left wing and was located near the initial impact ground scar. The outboard 2 feet of the left wing was bent upward.

The engine had separated from the airframe and was examined at a later date. The subsequent examination of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.

Examination of the airframe, engine and airplane systems revealed no preimpact anomalies.

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