Air Video Agriculture, forestry and fishing

NTSB to agricultural pilots: Watch out for obstacles

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Washington – Agricultural aircraft pilots need to take more precautions to avoid collisions with obstacles during crop dusting and fertilizing operations, the National Transportation Safety Board advises in a safety alert and video released May 14.

The advisory is based on a special report, released the same day, on common causes of incidents involving agricultural aircraft, which include helicopters, small planes, and other aircraft used by small businesses or private pilots. According to the report, the most common types of incidents are collisions with obstacles such as meteorological evaluation towers and electrical wires. The board recommends that pilots review aeronautical charts or other information on obstacles in their target areas before flying, as well as conduct aerial and ground surveys of obstacles.

The board also released eight safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation based on other common contributors to incidents involving agricultural aircraft, including insufficient skills-testing and lack of fatigue- and risk-management guidance for pilots.