On the 4th of October 2018, at 0915hrs, an Air tractor AT-401B aircraft with registration 5N-BTV operated by Skypower Express Airways Nigeria Ltd was on a Private Category/agricultural aerial spray operation at Olam Rice farm in Rukubi Nasarawa State. The pilot was the only person on board the aircraft.
On the day of the occurrence, the Pilot reported on duty at about 0745hrs, carried out pre-flight Inspection, completed flight planning and loading of the aircraft for the exercise of the day. The operation was for three sorties of crop spray over the farm.
The first two sorties commenced at about 0800hrs and were completed at about 0900hrs.
At about 0904hrs, the aircraft hopper was then re-loaded with 600 liters of liquid chemical for the last and final sortie of the day. The pilot reported that “after about 5/6 runs when the aircraft was pulling out of the run positioning for the next run, half way into the left turn, the pilot heard the engine sputtered, went dead for a second or two and fired back to normal then flamed out after another second”.
The pilot then continued turning left when he observed that there were obtacles and settlements to his right. The pilot reported that, he tried re-starting the engine, but will not crank. The pilot decided to force land in one of the secluded rice fields when he realised he will not be able to glide to the airstrip from that position.
The aircraft touched down with the right main landing gear first and the wheel sheared off at about 7m from the touch down point. The aircraft then tipped over just before coming to rest at about 38m.
The pilot exited with no injuries. The aircraft was substantially damaged.
The pilot reported that there were no observed failures or malfunctions on the aircraft and its engine prior to the flight.
The incident occurred at coordinates of 7°54’06”N, 8°19‘36”E at an elevation of 218ft AMSL, 0915hrs, daylight.