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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA16CA462
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, September 05, 2016 in Hondo, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/04/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT, registration: N31627
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, while maneuvering at low altitude over a field during an agricultural application flight, the airplane struck an antenna atop a tower adjacent to the field, and the antenna wrapped around the right wing and landing gear. The pilot added that he attempted an off-airport landing, but the airplane impacted terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and both wings.
The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
In an e-mail, the tower owner’s lawyer reported that the tower was used for internet and two-way communications. He added that the tower was under 200 ft above ground level and “with the antenna attached, the tower was in the mid to upper 100 [foot] range.” The lawyer reported that the tower was marked and lit appropriately and was not registered due its height.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from an antenna atop a tower while maneuvering at a low altitude and the airplane’s subsequent impact with terrain during an attempted off-airport landing.