Olney, TX – National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation statistics reveal sobering statistics from the past decade: Twenty-six percent of fatal agricultural aircraft accidents were caused primarily by stall/spins. Fifty percent of deadly stall/spins happened during turns, and 62 percent of reported stall/spins occurring during a turn were fatal.

To help raise awareness of the precursors of stall/spin accidents during aerial application, Air Tractor has released a new video entitled “Turn Smart – Respect The Safety Margin.”

The 40-minute YouTube video is hosted by former Air Tractor Test Pilot Mike Rhodes and AeroShell Aerobatic Team member and veteran ag pilot Steve Gustafson. Their in-depth discussion explores the root causes of stall/spin accidents as well as the mindset and procedures necessary to avoid a deadly low altitude stall/spin.

Rhodes and Gustafson examine the unique mission and flight characteristics of agricultural airplanes and take a deep dive into the “four left turning tendencies,” explaining how these affect all airplanes, including agricultural airplanes. They further touch upon the importance of pilot training for stall/spins in an appropriately rated aircraft and maintaining an adequate margin of safety during aerial spraying operations.

Animated sequences help viewers visualize the forces acting on a slow-flying ag plane climbing in a steep angle that can set up a dangerous situation. Rhodes and Gustafson then climb into Gustafson’s T-6 Texan to demonstrate left and right turn stall/spins.

There is a special segment from NASA Space Shuttle astronaut Colonel Mike Mullane (USAF Ret.) He explores the subtle menace of Normalization of Deviance and explains how this phenomenon brought down the space shuttle Challenger and why it is also relevant for the ag aviation industry.

As Air Tractor engineer and accident investigator Kyle Schroeder says, “It is our goal to provide you with some recommendations to help you recognize when your personal margin of safety has been reduced below an acceptable level. We want to remind everyone to ‘Turn Smart.’”

Air Tractor, Inc.


(940) 564-5616


(940) 564-5612

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 485
Olney, TX 76374

Shipping Address:

1524 Leland Snow Way
Olney, TX 76374