“On August 25, 2018, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4785D, was destroyed after a collision with terrain at East Georgia Regional Airport (SBO), Swainsboro, Georgia. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, while one passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center as a skydiving flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.”
The balloon pilot conducted multiple sport parachute flights throughout the day without obtaining a weather briefing. A SIGMET for severe thunderstorms, hail, and cloud tops to 45,000 feet was in effect for the area surrounding the takeoff and accident sites. Shortly after the balloon lifted off on the accident flight, the ground crew was advised of a severe storm warning for the area and observed the storm on radar via their cellular telephones.
The pilot received an unsafe landing gear indication for the left main landing gear when he configured the airplane for landing. He cycled the gear and then attempted a manual extension, both without success. The pilot then completed the landing on the nose and right main landing gear. A post accident examination of the left main landing gear actuator revealed that the supports for the actuator bearings lacked lubrication and that the bearings displayed wear due to inadequate lubrication.
The airplane had not been flown for about 5 months and the purpose of the accident flight was a maintenance test flight after both engines had been replaced with higher horsepower models. Witnesses observed the airplane depart and complete two uneventful touch-and-go landings. The airplane was then observed to be struggling to gain altitude and airspeed while maneuvering in the traffic pattern.
The pilot stated she had been conducting parachute drop operations through out the day. The pilot departed on the last parachute drop flight at an undetermined time, completed the parachute drop, and descended with power on. The pilot did not apply carburetor heat during the descent because the carburetor heat control cable was stuck, and would not move for the last two days.