The Pilot Heard A “Loud Pop” Noise Emit From The Turboprop Engine And He Observed Flames

Location: Allport, AR Accident Number: CEN22LA228
Date & Time: June 1, 2022, 17:00 Local Registration: N5007R
Aircraft: Air Tractor Inc AT-602 Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

On June 1, 2022, about 1700 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-602 airplane, N5007R, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Allport, Arkansas. The pilot sustained minor injury. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.

The pilot reported he was on the 35th flight of the day and the airplane had been performing all day with no issues noted. The airplane was refueled two flights prior, and at the time of the accident, each wing fuel tank was about half full of fuel. The airplane’s 6,500 lb hopper was loaded with 3,600 lbs of urea. For the accident flight, the pilot intended to fly to a rice field near Humnoke, Arkansas, to apply fertilizer. Immediately after the takeoff from the private airstrip, the pilot heard a “loud pop” noise emit from the turboprop engine and he observed flames emit from the left side of the airplane. The pilot confirmed that a loss of engine power occurred, he made sure the flaps were down, and he began to scan the area to perform a forced landing.

During the forced landing sequence, the pilot reported that it felt like there was a “slight recovery” of engine power, but then the engine ceased producing power. The pilot retarded the throttle and landed to a flat field consisting of grass, dirt, and mud. During the landing, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. The pilot was able to egress from the airplane without further incident.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing, the fuselage, and the empennage. The Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and noted a strong odor consistent with fuel. The wreckage was recovered from the accident site for future examination work. At the time of the accident, the estimated density altitude for the airstrip was 2,672 ft above msl.