Sat, Jun 30, 2007
Report Says Low Speed, Inadvertent Stall Were Contributing
National Transportation Safety Board issued its probable cause
report Wednesday indicating pilot error was to blame in a fatal
agricultural aircraft accident near Deming, NM in November of
Pilot John Obe Burrell, 65, of Winnie, TX was killed when his
1992 Air Tractor AT-502A went down in clear weather about 10 miles
northwest of the Deming Municipal Airport during a dry chemical
application to a rancher's field, according to the Associated
The NTSB probable cause report attributed the accident to, "The
pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering
resulting in an inadvertent stall and impact with terrain. A
contributing factor was the low airspeed."
Investigators said the examination revealed no problems with the
airplane or its engine.
Burrell had started a dry chemical application near the top of a
ridge and flew down field on his first pass, according to the
report. The pilot and rancher discussed the terrain and application
flight paths via hand-held radios and a subsequent upslope
application was also completed successfully.
The rancher said he then saw the airplane climb about 500 feet
over a gap between two 6,300-foot ridges and turn back to the field
when Burrell said he was "in a bind and was going to crash."
The rancher then saw the airplane "pitch over abruptly and enter
a tight spin." The airplane made three turns before impact,
according to the report.
Burrell had 27,000 hours of flight time with 5,000 in type.
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