Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary LAX01LA078

Holtville, CA, USA

Aircraft #1


Ayres S2R-T34


The airplane was engaged in a series of aerial application passes over a crop field when it struck a set of utility lines on a pass from the west. The pilot was unaware of a second, lower set of lines located just beneath the first. The pilot lost control of the airplane and it descended to the field. The airplane is configured to seat only the pilot; however, an unrestrained passenger was also aboard. The passenger was ejected during the impact sequence.

Factual Information

On January 18, 2001, at 1542 Pacific standard time, an Ayres S2R-T34, N8927Q, collided with utility lines and crashed in an agricultural field near Holtville, California. The commercial pilot received minor injuries while the unseated passenger received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was being operated as an agricultural application flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 137. The local flight originated from the Stoker Company agricultural strip in Imperial, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. A flight plan had not been filed. The pilot told Imperial County Sheriff's Department deputies that he was spraying a carrot field. As he approached the field from the west, the pilot flew under the utility lines that ran along Meloland Road but hit the second and lower set of lines. He was not aware of this set of utility lines and [just] heard a loud noise, lost control of the airplane, and impacted the ground in the center of the field. The unrestrained passenger was ejected from the cockpit. Deputies had found the lower set of utility lines broken. The upper section of the vertical stabilizer had been separated from the airplane. A post crash investigation revealed that the passenger was a maintenance employee with the company. The airplane was configured to accommodate a single pilot.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the wires. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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