The pilot reported that, during an agricultural application flight near Nicolaus, California, he observed a power transmission wire with no obstructions underneath.
He turned around to enter the spray field under the wire, where he observed one wire sagging lower than the other wires.
While flying under the power transmission wire, the Air Tractor AT402 encountered turbulence, so he decided to lower the nose to prevent being pushed into the wire. However, the tail rose up and struck the power transmission wire.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and rudder.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.The pilot reported that the wind was calm.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from a power transmission wire.
NTSB Identification: GAA18CA309
This May 2018 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.