Flightglobal has obtained a slow-motion video taken by a ground observer as Air Tractor's AT-802U surveillance and precision strike demonstrator aircraft experienced a landing accident at a military airstrip in California on 21 October.
Investigators say a pilot and a flight test engineer in the two-seat modified agricultural single at the time were testing maximum performance takeoffs and landings on the 1,829m (6,000ft) hard clay Schoonover runway at Fort Hunter Liggett when the accident occurred. Neither was injured.
"The pilot was attempting a short field landing and had full flaps deployed," the accident report states.
"Upon landing, the tail wheel of N4247U struck a berm of dirt at the west end of the strip. The berm of dirt was approximately 10-12ft tall. The nose pitched down and the prop struck the runway. The two front tires also struck the runway. The aircraft bounced back in the air. The pilot added power to avoid a stall and slow the rate of descent back on to the runway. The left wing dropped and the tip skidded along the runway."
The AT-802U is designed to fly for 10h and carry munitions on 11 hard points under the wings and fuselage, including Gatling guns, Hellfire missiles, laser-guided rockets and laser-guided bombs.
The company in July announced that it had launched production of the counter-insurgency aircraft to an undisclosed customer.