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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133512
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AT3P model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Air Tractor AT-401
Owner/operator:Donald Johnson
Registration: N1509C
MSN: 401-0828
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Altha, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:22FL
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
On July 8, 1997, about 1650 central standard time, an Air Tractor AT-401, N1509C, registered to Thaggard Aviation LLC Inc., crashed during takeoff near Altha, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight. The commercial-rated pilot reported minor injuries. The airplane was destroyed. The flight was originating at the time from a private airport.

The flight was departing with 180 gallons of chemicals [8 pounds per gallon] and 100 gallons of fuel. The runway was part asphalt and part grass, and the takeoff roll was started on the asphalt. As the airplane rolled down the runway and reached the grass part of the runway, the pilot said he attempted to "dump" the chemicals about 100 feet from the end of the runway, because the airplane would not come off the ground. In addition, he said that even after he dumped the load, the airplane "still didn't want to fly, the aircraft didn't seem to have enough power."

According to the Calhoun County Sheriff's report, the first officer on the scene said when he arrived he saw power lines on the road. The officer further said that the pilot had been "transported by EMS to Calhoun-Liberty Hospital for cuts and bruises." The officer later went to the pilot's home and the pilot told him; "...upon taking off, the plane would just not get up. He advised that he flew the plane earlier without a problem...when he dumped the load of chemicals on the runway, the plane went up, hit the top of a power pole with a wing and then went down into small pines...."

The FAA inspector's report stated that the pilot said "he had problems with aircraft performance on climbout." Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any discrepancies. The FAA inspector's report further said, " accident blood test taken in the Emergency Room [see emergency room report attached] after the accident indicated a .143 percent, by weight, of alcohol continent in [the] pilot's blood." Several witnesses ran to the crash to aid the pilot and they stated that when they reach the pilot they saw that he "staggered and smelled of alcohol." The witnesses said they did not see him consume anything before he got into a car "Bronco" and leave the scene (see statements under Reports from Federal Agengies).
PROBABLE CAUSE:the pilot's impairment of judgment and performance due to alcohol which led to his failure to maintain control of the airplane.


NTSB id 20001208X08464

Revision history:

21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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