Pilot Of The AT-802A Pitched Up At The End Of His Application Run And Collided With The AT-802

Location: Portland, AR Accident Number: ERA22FA338
Date & Time: July 26, 2022, 17:02 Local Registration: N749LA (A1); N214RL (A2)
Aircraft: Air Tractor Inc. AT-802A (A1); Air Tractor Inc. AT-802 (A2) Injuries: 1 Fatal (A1); 1 Serious (A2)
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural (A1); Part 137: Agricultural (A2)

On July 26, 2022, about 1702 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-802A airplane, N749LA, and an Air Tractor AT-802 airplane, N214RL, were involved in an accident near Portland, Arkansas. The AT-802A was destroyed, and the AT-802 was substantially damaged. The pilot of the AT-802A was fatally injured, and the pilot of the AT-802 was seriously injured. Both aircraft were operated as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137 aerial application flights.

According to a witness who was familiar with both aircraft and pilots, the AT-802 was transiting the area at low altitude, in a southeasterly direction. The area consisted mainly of mature soybean and cotton fields. Concurrently, the AT-802A was applying chemical to a soybean field in a southerly direction.

The pilot of the AT-802A pitched up at the end of his application run and collided with the AT-802. The AT-802A continued to the northeast for about ¼ mile and crashed in a soybean field. The AT-802 began to spin vertically downward and impacted a cotton field underneath the point of collision. First responders extricated the pilot of the AT-802 and extinguished a postaccident fire in the engine compartment. The pilot of the AT-802 was airlifted to a hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas for treatment of his injuries.

An examination of the AT-802 revealed impact signatures to the leading edge of the left wing and forward wind screen, consistent with contact with the AT-802A. The wreckage of the AT-802A was highly fragmented and spread over a path about 300 feet in length. There was no fire observed in the AT-802A wreckage.

The AT-802A was equipped with a SATLOC G4 aerial guidance system and the AT-802 was equipped with an AgPilotX GPS system. The nonvolatile memory from the units will be sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download and analysis of the data.

The wreckage from both aircraft was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov