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Incident Name: Cook Branch Fire outside of Ft Stockton, TX
Date: 5/7/2000
Personnel: Carl Ray Payne
Age: 66
Agency/Organization: Payne Flying Service of Katy, Texas, and under contract with the DOI and working for the Texas Forest Service
Position: aerial firefighter / pilot

Summary: On May 7, 2000, at 1300 central daylight time, an Air Tractor AT-802A agricultural airplane, N60471, struck a tower while maneuvering near Fort Stockton, Texas, killing Carl Payne, the pilot. The Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT), owned and operated by Payne Flying Service of Katy, Texas, and under contract with the Department of Interior, was dropping fire retardant on brush fires in the west Texas ranch land areas for the Texas Forest Service.

Carl Payne Carl Payne

 

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Maps

8,000 acre fire outside of Ft Stockton, TX

Fort Stockton-Pecos County Airport

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 5/7/2000
    • 1 killed: Carl Payne
    • Operator: Payne Flying Service of Katy, Texas, and under contract with the DOI and working for the Texas Forest Service
    • Type: Air Tractor AT-802A
    • Location: outside of Ft Stockton, TX
    • FAA Registration # N60471
    • NTSB # FTW00TA142
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Factual Report (80 K pdf)
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html) Probable Cause Brief

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

    The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with the antenna tower. A factor was the smoke weather condition.
  • NTSB: Full Narrative (html)
  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: FTW00TA142

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Crash Claims Life of Texas Forest Service Pilot

    5/8/2000 | Online Article (no longer online)

    The Glass Mountain Fire has charred nearly 40,000 acres across two counties. And it has now claimed at least one life. Carl Ray Payne, 66, of Katy, Texas, was killed Sunday morning, May 7, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in the rugged mountan country of northeastern Brewster County.

    Carl Ray Payne, 66 of Kay, Texas, was killed Sunday morning, May 7, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in the rugged mountain country of northeastern Brewster County.

    Payne was operating an Air Tractor aircraft called a SEAT or single-engine air tanker. It very much resembles a crop duster, but is specially adapted for firefighting. He had arrived in Fort Stockton, Texas, the previous day as part of efforts by the Texas Forest Service to assist local firefighters combating the Glass Mountain Fire.

    Payne was one of two pilots operating firefighting aircraft out of the Pecos County Airport in Fort Stackton, under contract to the Forest Sercice to deliver water and chemical retardent on the blaze which was still out of control at that time. Centered in the rugged, remote mountain country of Pecos and far from serviceable roads, some points of the fire could only be attacked from the air.

    Payne had reportedly just completed a run over the fire and was in the process of pulling out-still close to the ground-when his craft stuck a transmission tower. He is believed to have died instantly. Official details of the crash are not yet available.

    It is reportedly under investigation by the Brewster County Sheriff

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

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Contributors to this article: NMAirBear, Mellie

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