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Tue, Aug 29, 2023

NTSB Prelim: Air Tractor Inc AT-802

The Airplane Impacted A Bean Field And Came To Rest Upright

Location: Gilman City, MO Accident Number: CEN23FA353
Date & Time: August 8, 2023, 11:50 Local Registration: N804AA
Aircraft: Air Tractor Inc AT-802 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On August 8, 2023, about 1150 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-802 airplane, N804AA, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Gilman City, Missouri. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight was conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight.

A witness to the accident stated that he was driving south on State Highway K near the water tower when he first saw the airplane. The airplane was flying above him near the intersection of Highways K and B. The airplane appeared to be flying south, then turned east, and back to the north. Right before he turned his vehicle right on Highway B, the airplane started to turn “pretty aggressively.” As he drove west on the highway, he saw the airplane “flipped and tumbled to the ground.” When he got to the airplane in the field, it was sitting at a downward angle toward the nose and the smoke and fire were heavy near the front of the airplane. He  did not observe any smoke or fire from the airplane before it impacted the ground. He does not remember hearing the sound of the engine at any point during the flight.

Another witness to the accident stated that she was driving south on State Highway K adjacent to the accident site. She saw the airplane “flip sideways” and stated that she wasn’t sure if it was a crop duster or performing aerobatics. She could not see the ground impact because of her position but saw smoke and then the airplane burning at the accident site. She did not remember hearing any engine noise from inside her vehicle. Her daughter, who was also in the vehicle, stated that she saw the airplane rapidly spinning like a corkscrew toward the ground. According to the airplane owner and operator, the pilot was spreading fertilizer on a  nearby bean field. The accident site was about 0.5 nautical miles east of the target field.

The airplane impacted a bean field and came to rest upright, with all major airplane components identified at the accident site. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the fuselage, hopper, and the inboard portion of the right wing. The empennage, left wing, and engine compartment sustained some fire damage and were relatively intact. The propeller and engine were partially imbedded in the ground but remained attached to the engine mounts. All 5 propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub and were found bent and twisted. The onboard SATLOC GPS sustained significant fire damage, but some of the internal components were undamaged and recognizable. The GPS was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for examination.

The airplane was retained for further examination. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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