Summary

Summary

On 26 August 2011, at about 1545 Western Standard Time, an Air Tractor Inc. AT-802, registered VH-NIW, struck power lines and impacted terrain, during agricultural spraying operations.

Earlier that day, the pilot had commenced the first of six agricultural spraying flights. At mid-morning, he was approached by a farmer to carry out an unscheduled spraying operation of wheat paddocks next to a main road. The farmer supplied the pilot with a map of the fields to spray, which included the location of two powerlines.

On reaching the property, the pilot commenced his field inspection and identified the two powerlines and paddocks marked on the farmer's map. At the same time, he noticed vehicle traffic on the main road located next to the spraying area and a third set of powerlines.

The pilot noted a break in the traffic and commenced the spraying operation. When about 300 m into the paddock, the aircraft struck an unseen fourth set of powerlines. The aircraft's engine lost power and impacted terrain in a neighbouring paddock. The aircraft sustained serious damage and the pilot was not injured.

This accident highlights the vital role hazard identification plays, particularly when operating at low-level, and how distractions can impact operations. It is a reminder that distractions are not unique to any one type of operation and that no pilot is immune.