NTSB releases report on Nevada SEAT crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a “probable cause” report on the August 20, 2009 crash of a single engine air tanker (SEAT) 125 miles northeast of Reno, NV in which pilot Dave Jamsa of Minuteman Aerial Applications was killed while working on the Hoyt fire. Because of damage to the aircraft, the investigators can’t determine with certainty why the SEAT seemed to stall at the end of what appeared to be an attempt at making a retardant drop. One theory is that the drop was attempted but the drop system was not armed, and no retardant was dispersed. The weight remaining in the aircraft, when the pilot expected it to be much lighter after the drop, made it impossible to gain enough altitude to avoid impacting the terrain.

The drop system is normally not armed in order to avoid inadvertent drops, and it should be armed shortly before the intended drop. It is possible that the pilot forgot to arm the system, a fairly common mistake, which prevented the retardant from being dispersed. But this is just a theory, and the exact cause may never be known.

NTSB Factual Report 6/2/2010

Probable Cause Report 7/1/2010

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.