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On July 13, 2012 about 1130 central daylight time, a Grumman G-164A, N6846Q, operated by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged during an agricultural spraying operation when it struck a tree and impacted in a field near Darksville, Missouri. A post-impact fire ensued. The pilot was fatally injured. The aerial application flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the flight. The local flight departed Omar N Bradley Airport (KMBY), Moberly, Missouri at an undetermined time.
A witness reported that the airplane made several spray passes over a cornfield with a line of trees near the edge of the field. After the last spray pass the witness observed the airplane strike a tree.
The pilot, age 36, held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land and instrument rating. On June 14, 2011, the pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate. At the time of the medical examination the pilot reported having 650 hours of flight experience with 15 hours in the last six months.
The accident airplane was a 1977 Grumman Aircraft G-164A and was equipped with a Pratt Whitney R-985 engine. The airplane was issued a restricted airworthiness certificate on September 20, 1977. ‘Maybee Air’ Limited Liability Corporation, owned by the pilot, purchased the airplane on December 25, 2011. An annual inspection was performed by the pilot on July 1, 2012.
The closest weather station was at Viertel Memorial Airport (KVER), Boonville, Missouri, located about 35 nautical miles south of the accident site. The airport was equipped with an automated weather observing system (AWOS).
At 1135, the KVER AWOS reported the following weather conditions: wind 250 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 34 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 15 degrees C; altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located in an open field adjacent to the field being sprayed, with a line of trees separating these two fields. Fresh limb breaks were present on the highest tree between the two fields and freshly broken tree limb fragments were located on the ground between the line of trees and the accident site.
All flight control surfaces were accounted for and flight control continuity was confirmed at the accident site. The engine crank case was cracked in multiple locations, which prevented rotation and continuity checks of the engine. Chordwise scoring and bending of the propeller was noted at the accident site. Examination of the airframe, engine and propeller did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On July 16, 2012, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner’s office. The cause of death was attributed to blunt force injuries. The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. No carbon monoxide or cyanide was detected in blood, no ethanol was detected in vitreous, and no drugs were detected in the urine.