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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN16LA181
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in West, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 502, registration: N1546Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After completing an aerial application flight, the commercial pilot was returning to the base airport over 15 nautical miles away when the airplane impacted terrain and was consumed by a postimpact fire. Although the wreckage was significantly fragmented and damaged by fire, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airframe or engine were noted that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed cellular tower guy wire and right wing damage that was consistent with the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the guy wires while intentionally flying at a low altitude in visual meteorological conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to see and avoid cellular tower guy wires. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to operate at low altitude.