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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 244536
Last updated: 28 November 2021
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Time:04:29 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA25 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee D
Owner/operator:African Ag Aviation Pty Ltd
Registration: ZS-MAD
MSN: 25-7956032
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Jacaranda farm, Kirkwood -   South Africa
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Kirkwood
Destination airport:Kirkwood
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
On Saturday morning, 31 October 2020, a pilot on-board a Piper PA-25-235D aircraft with registration ZS-MAD took off from a private airstrip in Kirkwood in the Eastern Cape province to perform an insecticide crop-spraying operation on Jacaranda farm. The farm is located approximately 12.2 kilometres (km) from the airstrip where the aircraft took off. The flight was conducted in visual flight rules (VFR) by day under the provisions of Part 137 of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) 2011 as amended.
According to the owner of the Jacaranda farm, the pilot was crop-spraying lemon trees at a height of about 50 feet (ft) above ground level (AGL). Approximately 30 minutes into the flight and after the second application run, the aircraft turned right to reposition for the third application run. A witness who is a resident at the farm and was, at the time, inside her house, stated that the aircraft flew over her house twice and, during the third turn, the aircraft sounded like it was flying at a low height. A few seconds later, she heard a loud bang. A second witness stated that she saw the aircraft making a right turn at a low height. Moments later, the aircraft’s right-side wing collided with a tall tree. Following impact with the tree, the aircraft was seen flying in a nose-down attitude. Later, a trail of smoke was seen coming from the direction of the aircraft accident site.
The two witnesses rushed to the accident site but could not help the pilot out of the burning wreckage due to the intensity of the fire. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and post-impact fire. The Aircraft Rescue and Fire-fighting (ARFF) team were called to the accident site and attended to the pilot, however, the pilot had sustained fatal injuries during the accident sequence.

Probable Cause/s and/or Contributory Factors
The pilot misjudged his proximity to the trees during a turn for a third spray run; he collided with one of the trees, resulting in loss of control and the fatal crash.

Sources: (needs log-in)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 8 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

31-Oct-2020 09:19 gerard57 Added
31-Oct-2020 15:38 harro Updated [Aircraft type]
01-Nov-2020 12:32 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative]
27-Feb-2021 18:58 rudy Updated [[Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative]]

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