Accident Brief: Air Tractor AT 602 Crash in El Campo, Texas
Air Tractor AT 602
El Campo, Texas/ 1 Minor
The pilot was landing at a remote agricultural airstrip for the first time. While on the final approach to land to the south and just before touchdown, the pilot saw a ground spray rig maneuver toward the airstrip. The airplane touched down uneventfully. The pilot added that the ground spray rig then “pulled out on me, not thinking it could be on the road that went around the end of the airstrip.” The pilot incorrectly judged that the ground spray rig was crossing the runway and incorrectly believed that a runway incursion might occur. The pilot applied full power, but due to the turbine engine’s lag in accelerating, the pilot realized that he was “not going to have enough time” to perform a go-around. The pilot reduced the power and attempted to stop the airplane before he ran out of the available runway. The airplane impacted a perimeter fence and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, the right aileron, and the engine mount. The operator reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause(s): The pilot’s misjudgment of a ground spray rig’s position and his incorrect belief that a runway incursion might occur, which resulted in the pilot attempting and then aborting a go-around, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with a fence.