Wirestrike Accident Ayres S-2R-T Turbo Thrush N4977X, Monday 10 January 2011
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Date:Monday 10 January 2011
Type:Silhouette image of generic SS2T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Ayres S-2R-T Turbo Thrush
Owner/operator:Alexander Ag Flying Service Inc
Registration: N4977X
MSN: 5022R
Total airframe hrs:7362 hours
Engine model:Honeywell TPE-331
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Oakley, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Spezia Airport, CA (9CL9)
Destination airport:Oakley, CA
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot was initiating an aerial application to a field when the airplane collided with a 198-foot-tall, unpainted metal meteorological evaluation tower (MET). No information about the MET was distributed in any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notices or other publications for pilots, and the MET was not equipped with any markings or obstruction lights for visual conspicuity. For these reasons, the pilot likely had limited opportunity to become aware of the MET before the flight, and his ability to detect it visually in flight was extremely limited. Although the pilot’s toxicological results were positive for dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter cough suppressant) and dextrorphan (a metabolite of dextromethorphan) in the urine, the substances were not noted in the blood; therefore, it is likely that some time had passed since the pilot had used the medication. Additionally, these substances would not normally be expected to result in any impairment.

METs are used to measure wind data throughout the United States. They can be assembled quickly and can be constructed of galvanized tubing with guy wires used as support. Because many METs (like the accident MET) are just below the 200-foot threshold at which FAA regulations would require the applicant to notify the FAA of the MET and to provide a lighting and marking plan for FAA assessment, many METs are unmarked, unlighted, and not referenced in any FAA notices or publications for pilots. Although the FAA in 2011 approved an update to Advisory Circular (AC) 70/7460-1K, Obstruction Marking and Lighting, that will provide recommended guidance on marking METs, ACs are only advisory in nature. Because of this, MET constructions will likely continue to meet only the minimum requirements and, thus, will remain a hazard to pilots operating at low altitudes. In March 2011, the NTSB published Safety Alert SA-016 to educate pilots about the flight-safety issues presented by METs. The Safety Alert is available at the NTSB’s website at http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety_alerts.html.

Probable Cause: An in-flight collision with an unmarked meteorological evaluation tower (MET) during an aerial application flight due to the pilot's failure to see and avoid the obstacle. Contributing to the accident was the lack of visual conspicuity of the MET and the lack of information available to the pilot about the MET before the flight.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR11LA094
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Download report: Final report





Photos(c): NTSB

Revision history:

11-Jan-2011 06:03 gerard57 Added
11-Jan-2011 08:16 slowkid Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Damage]
12-Sep-2014 09:27 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
26-Nov-2017 18:46 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
07-Mar-2022 21:20 Captain Adam Updated [Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Narrative, Photo]
07-Mar-2022 21:21 Captain Adam Updated [Photo]
07-Mar-2022 21:21 Captain Adam Updated [Photo]

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