A skydiver jumped up and out of the airplane instead of dropping out of the exit and keeping a low trajectory. He then impacted the horizontal stabilizer and fell away from the leading edge. The skydiver’s automatic deployment system activated and opened the parachute.
On July 29, 2006, about 1345 central daylight time, a de Havilland DHC 6 100, N203E, registered to Adventure Aviation, LLC, and operated by Skydive Quantum Leap as a local parachute operations flight, crashed into trees and terrain after takeoff from Sullivan Regional Airport, near Sullivan, Missouri. The pilot and five parachutists were killed, and two parachutists were seriously injured.
According to the pilot of the Cessna 182A, he was returning to land after completing a skydiving drop. The descent, and the downwind and base legs of the traffic pattern were uneventful; however, after turning onto the final leg, the pilot attempted to add power, and the engine “cut out.”
The 568-hour commercial pilot was returning to a private airstrip for a night landing after releasing parachute jumpers. According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) the aircraft’s landing light was inoperative so in an attempt to identify the unlit grass runway, the pilot flew over the area several times to try to find the airstrip.
The airplane failed to gain altitude and settled into the ground during the takeoff initial climb. The firewall buckled during the ground contact. The pilot said that just after takeoff, the airspeed decreased to 60 knots and the airplane was 300 feet above ground level. He was unable to recover the airspeed and he touched down in a field.