The Main Wreckage Was Located Inverted In A Row Of Trees That Lined The Field The Airplane Was Seeding
Location: Floral City, FL Accident Number: ERA20LA330
Date & Time: September 23, 2020, 07:50 Local Registration: N6106Z
Aircraft: Piper PA25 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural
On September 23, 2020, about 0750 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25 airplane, N6106Z, was destroyed when it was involved in accident in Floral City, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight.
According to a solo student pilot who was in the traffic pattern at the nearby Inverness Airport (INF), Inverness, Florida, while turning right downwind for runway 01, he glanced down and saw that the accident airplane was “spraying” and “it looked to me like he pitched up to clear something and then abruptly went down.” The student pilot subsequently observed fire and smoke emanating from where he last saw the airplane.
An additional witness was located on a tractor in a nearby farm field. He reported that he observed the accident airplane spraying from west to east and it had “dipped down two times, coming down near the trees and then coming back up.” He then observed the airplane on its third approach, and it was “real low” and he “never saw him [the airplane] come back up.” He subsequently observed black smoke and heard explosions.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane, rotorcraft helicopter and gyroplane, and glider. He also held a flight instructor and mechanic certificates. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate April 13, 2020, where he reported a total of 31,100 hours of flight time and 125 hours in the preceding 6 months.
According to an FAA inspector who traveled to the accident site, the main wreckage was located inverted in a row of trees that lined the field the airplane was seeding. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the fuselage; however, all primary flight controls were present with the main wreckage. He further reported that within the field that was being sprayed, about 350 ft directly west of the main wreckage, a large dead tree with vegetation growth contained broken branches and components of the agricultural spraying equipment near its base.
The wreckage was retained for further examination.