The pilot reported that during takeoff from a private grass airstrip in Wall, S.D., the Air Tractor AT-401 would not climb above terrain at the end of the runway. It hit the ground, coming to rest in a wheat field.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing, right aileron, and fuselage.
The pilot reported the outside air temperature at the time of the accident was 91° Fahrenheit and the airplane was loaded near its maximum gross takeoff weight of 6,000 pounds.
The pilot stated, “The load was too heavy for the weather conditions at this time.”
The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to adjust the airplane’s useful load to compensate for the high temperature, which resulted in an insufficient climb rate to clear surrounding terrain, and a runway excursion.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA117
This June 2015 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.