Pilot speaks about the dangers of crop dusting

Pilot speaks about the dangers of crop dusting »Play Video
GLENNS FERRY - Tuesday's early morning crash killed James Howard Nau, 21, of Melba. Friends and co-workers say he was an experienced pilot, who logged more than 2,000 flight hours in 5 years.

"The weather conditions, the way the wind was, and how slow he was flying, he just went into a stall," said Rick Layher, Elmore County Sheriff.

Witnesses say the crop dusting plane began spiraling and hit the ground strait down. This isn't the first time something like this has happened.

On June 12th, Jeff Hibbs, 39, walked away from a similar crash in Wilder.

"Well if you were to have an engine failure, like what occurred to me, if you're really close to the ground, there's very little time to decide where you're going to land, or crash," Hibbs said.

He was spraying fertilizer on hop fields, when total engine failure occurred. To avoid nearby canals, horses and power lines, he crashed his plane into an onion field.

"I just had to fly it onto the ground and let it nose over and it flipped over in a quick revolution," Hibb said. He was surprised he managed to walk away. "I guess it was just luck."

According to the National Transportation Safety Board's aviation statistics, there have been 27 crashes and 5 deaths in Idaho involving agricultural planes within the last 8 years.

In 2002, a mosquito abatement flight in Emmett turned deadly when a Cessna struck power lines. The pilot and his passenger were killed.

News of Nau's death is another painful reminder for pilots like Hibbs who amazingly walked away.

"It's a horrible deal for the Nau family and Valley Air and it could have just as easily been me as them," Hibbs said.