CEN13LA371
CEN13LA371

On June 23, 2013, about 1630 central daylight time, an Air Tractor Inc. AT-502B, N6017E, was substantially damaged when it settled into a field after takeoff near Campbell, Nebraska. The commercial pilot was not injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Campbell Aerial Spraying, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Prior to takeoff, the airplane was loaded with 170 gallons of chemicals and the fuel tanks were half full. The pilot estimated that the airplane was 7,268 pounds at the time of the accident; 732 pounds below maximum gross weight. During the takeoff roll, the airplane reached the expected point of rotation, but was "not flying yet." The pilot scanned the gauges, verified full power, and added additional flaps. The airplane became airborne but then settled to the ground. The airplane impacted a fence and rotated 180 degrees before coming to a complete stop.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident, during the impact with the ground, the right main landing gear separated from the airframe. The right wing was bent and wrinkled and the fuselage structure was bent and broken. According to the mechanic responsible for repairing the airplane, there was minor damage to the fuselage and substantial damage to right wing. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane prior to the accident. Calculations of relevant meteorological data indicated that the density altitude was about 4,100 feet.



The flight manual for the Air Tractor AT-502B states that flaps should be retracted for a normal takeoff. A takeoff from a short field with a full hopper requires 10 degrees of flaps. Air Tractor does not provide performance expectations or guidance for the use of more than 10 degrees of flaps at takeoff.

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