Accidents in agricultural aviation in the United States : a 28-year investigation

R.R.A. van Doorn

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A 28-year (1982–2009) retrospective investigation was carried out for 3,102 fixed-wing agricultural aircraft involved in the aerial application (Part 137) of pesticides or fertilizers (crop dusting). In total, 64% of the pilots remained uninjured, while 10% of accidents were fatal. This type of aviation is unique as proportionally more accidents occurred during the maneuvering / aerial application and landing phases, involving low-altitude crashes. Collision with poorly visible obstacles in the landscape was involved in 27% of the crashes. These accidents were more likely to involve fatalities, occurred predominantly during maneuvering at the application site, and were often attributed to human error (inappropriate visual lookout and clearance). Recommendations discussed include markings on objects that may improve low-altitude navigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
JournalAviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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