Friday, April 1, 2011

Eagle Aircraft Co. DW1, West Side Aerial Applicators LLC, N8812A: Accident occurred April 01, 2011 in Newman, California

NTSB Identification: WPR11LA179 
 14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Friday, April 01, 2011 in Newman, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: EAGLE DW1, registration: N8812A
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The pilot reported that he was applying his fifth aerial application load of the day over a field that was split by power lines about 35 to 40 feet above ground level next to a road. The pilot had been flying under the lines unless a power pole obstructed the airplane’s flight path or he observed traffic on the road, which was fairly busy. As the airplane approached the road, the pilot noticed a propane truck at the last second that was approaching the airplane’s flight path from the right. He tried to adjust but did not clear the top of the truck; the impact separated the left main landing gear from the airplane. The pilot was able to maintain control, so he returned to his nearby home dirt strip. During the abrupt deceleration due to the separated landing gear, the airplane sustained substantial damage to both lower wings. The driver of the propane truck was not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inadequate visual lookout and failure to maintain clearance from a vehicle during a low-altitude operation.

On April 1, 2011, about 1020 Pacific daylight time, an Eagle DW-1, N8812A, collided with a propane truck near Newman, California. West Side Aerial Applications LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both lower wings from impact forces. The local aerial application flight departed a private dirt strip near Newman about 1000. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated that he was applying his fifth load of the day, and was on the third pass of that load. He was flying over the field, and approaching power lines and a road that split the field. He normally flew about 3 feet above the crop, which was 3-foot-tall wheat. The power lines were about 35 to 40 feet above ground level (agl). He had been flying under the lines unless a power pole obstructed the airplane’s flight path, or he observed traffic on the road, which was fairly busy.

As the airplane approached the road, the pilot noticed a propane truck at the last second that was approaching his flight path from his right to left. He tried to adjust, but could not clear the truck. The left main landing gear separated after it collided with the top of the truck.

The pilot was able to maintain control of the airplane, so he returned to his nearby home dirt strip.

The pilot chose to land the airplane in the soft dirt next to the strip, and was not wearing his shoulder harness. During the abrupt deceleration due to the separated landing gear, his head was thrown forward into the instrument panel, which knocked him unconscious. He was wearing a helmet, but sustained serious injuries to his head. The driver of the propane truck was not injured.




This propane truck carrying 2,100 gallons of fuel was clipped by a crop duster near Newman, CA, on Friday, April 1, 2011.


This crop-dusting plane clipped a propane truck and crashed-landed into a field near Newman, CA, on Friday, April 1, 2011.


A place crashed in a field near Newman after clipping a propane truck on Friday, April 1, 2011.


NEWMAN -- A crop duster pilot suffered cuts and bruises this morning after his plane clipped a propane tank and crashed at an air-landing strip north of Newman.

The truck suffered little damage and there was no fuel leak following the accident, which occurred at about 10:20 a.m., authorities said.

The driver of the truck, Damion Beveridge, said he was driving north on River Road when he felt his truck get hit by something.

He looked out of his left window and saw the plane's landing gear fall to the ground. He quickly stopped his truck to check the damage. He then went out to the airstrip to check on the pilot.

Emergency crews got there shortly after, worked on the pilot and took him to a hospital, where he was treated for facial injuries.

It's not known at this point why the plane was flying low enough to make contact with the truck, although Beveridge said the plane had flown beneath the power lines on River Road.

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