“According to the pilot, he started carrying skydivers several days before the accident after familiarizing himself with the airport and airplane. The accident occurred on the fourth flight of the day. Around 2,000 ft during the initial climb, the airplane experienced a radio failure and the pilot noted a slight change in engine sound. He consulted with one of the tandem skydivers and continued to climb to 7,500 ft to allow the two pairs of skydivers to jump, which he felt was the safest course of action.”
The pilot checked the fuel quantity with a wooden stick and estimated 21 gallons of fuel was onboard for the parachute flight. The takeoff and climb to 10,000 feet msl, and release of the jumpers, was normal. On the return to the airport, while on the turn to base leg, the engine lost power.