Accident Air Tractor AT-502B N8526M, Tuesday 18 January 2005
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Date:Tuesday 18 January 2005
Type:Silhouette image of generic AT5T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Air Tractor AT-502B
Owner/operator:Air Tractor
Registration: N8526M
MSN: 2570
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Hollister, OK -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Olney Municipal Airport, TX (KONY)
Destination airport:Hutchinson Airport, KS (HUT/KHUT)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 18, 2005, approximately 1128 central standard time, a Cessna T-37B, a twin-turbojet military trainer, tail number 66-8003, operating under the call sign Cider 21, and an Air Tractor AT-502B single-engine agricultural airplane, N8526M, were destroyed following a midair collision during cruise flight near Hollister, Oklahoma. The T-37B was registered to and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). The AT-502B was registered to a private individual and operated by a commercial pilot. The USAF flight instructor pilot was not injured and the USAF student pilot sustained minor injuries. The commercial pilot in the AT-502B was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplanes were operating in Class E airspace. The T-37B was in radar contact with approach control and was operating under Air Force Instructions (AFI) 11-202, Volume III. The AT-502B was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 for the delivery flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight for the T-37B originated from the Sheppard Air Force Base (SPS), near Wichita Falls, Texas, approximately 1022. The cross-country flight for the AT-502B originated from the Olney Municipal Airport, near Olney, Texas, approximately 1100, and was destined for Huron, South Dakota, with an intermediate fuel stop in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The training jet was returning to its home military base after a training flight. The training jet had climbed VFR to 5,500 feet msl, and then was instructed to descend to 5,000 feet msl on a 100 degree magnetic heading. After about a minute or less of level flight at 5,000 feet msl, the T-37B impacted the agricultural aircraft which was flying on a heading of about 355 to 005 degrees magnetic. The radar approach control facility that was providing radar services to the T-37B did not have radar recording capability, therefore, no radar track data was available for analysis. Air traffic controllers who were working the T-37B reported seeing the T-37B at 5,000 feet on their radar displays prior to the mid-air collision. The air traffic controllers reported that they did not observe primary radar returns on the AT-502B. The AT-502B was a factory new aircraft that was being ferried to South Dakota. It was not equipped with radios or a transponder. The magnetic heading and altitudes flown by the AT-502B pilot are unknown due to the lack of radar data. The T-37B instructor pilot reported there was an overcast ceiling around 6,000 to 6,500 feet msl, and that the visibility at 5,500 feet msl was about 3 miles due to haze. The VFR cruising altitudes, as prescribed in FAR 91.159, for level cruising flight for 3,000 feet above the surface and below 18,000 feet MSL are as follows: "(1) On a magnetic course of zero degrees through 179 degrees, any odd thousand foot MSL altitude +500 feet (such as 3,500, 5,500, or 7,500); or (2) On a magnetic course of 180 degrees through 359 degrees, any even thousand foot MSL altitude +500 feet (such as 4,500, 6,500, or 8,500)." The airspace at the accident location is designated as Class E airspace. Class E airspace is defined by the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) as: "generally, if the airspace is not Class A, Class B, Class D, and it is controlled airspace, it is Class E airspace." No specific pilot certification or specific aircraft equipment is required to fly in Class E airspace. No separation services are provided to VFR aircraft operating in Class E airspace.

Probable Cause: The pilots of the T-37B and AT-502B the failed to maintain adequate visual lookout and did not maintain clearance from the other aircraft. Contributing factors included the lack of a transponder and radios on the AT-502B and the reduced visibility due to haze.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CHI05FA055
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 6 months
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

27-Aug-2021 15:22 TB Added
27-Aug-2021 15:27 TB Updated [Location]
27-Aug-2021 15:27 TB Updated [Cn]

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