SUTTER COUNTY, Calif. - Two crop dusters belonging to the same company crashed just hours apart within a half mile of each other Monday.
Both planes experienced problems with their engines, according to Steve Anderson, owner of Anderson's Flying Service of Yuba City.
The first plane crashed south of Riego Road and west of Highway 99 around 7:30 a.m. The pilot was unhurt. He said his engine seized, so he dumped his load of chemicals and set the plane down. During the emergency landing, the plane's wheel caught an edge and tipped the plane forward. A crane was brought in to remove the plane by mid-morning.
"We were breaking in a new pilot. It was his second year in the airplane. He has been doing a good job," said plane owner Anderson, who said he'd leased the planes to Farm Air on Riego Road. Both planes were spraying agricultural chemicals on cotton fields.
The second plane, an Air Tractor 502B, came down around 1:30 p.m. in a rice field less than a half mile away from the first incident. The pilot, who was not identified, suffered minor injuries.
Anderson said the engine was due for an overhaul in the fall. He said there were no unusual circumstances, that the engine problems and two crash landings were a complete coincidence.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said both incidents will be investigated.