The pilot reported that, during the takeoff roll, the airplane encountered a gust of wind and veered left off the runway centerline. He added, that the airplane became airborne, but that he did not have “enough time” to avoid a parked helicopter. Subsequently, the left wing impacted the helicopter. He then reduced the engine power and the airplane landed without further incident.
The pilot reported that on the morning of the flight he used a fuel dipstick to check fuel tank quantities prior to his flight. The fuel tank dipstick was marked in the number of skydiving flights and reserve fuel had a mark as well. The right tank showed a higher fuel quantity than the left and when combined, the stick showed enough fuel for three flight loads of jumpers. He further stated that he fueled the airplane up to the “four load” level five days prior to the accident flight, which was the last time the airplane was flown.
According to the pilot, he was attempting a soft field landing on runway 27. Following a stable approach and landing, a gust of wind was encountered. The airplane veered to the right and the pilot was unable to stop the airplane before the right wing struck a wind sock pole. An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the airplane and confirmed substantial damage to the right wing. The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
According to the pilot, he leveled the airplane at 8,500 feet for a tandem skydive. When the instructor exited the airplane, the nose pitched up, then the airplane pitched over into a right, descending turn. The pilot assessed the situation and determined that the right horizontal stabilizer was bent.
The airplane was departing for a skydiving flight. During rotation, the jump door opened, which was located on the right side of the airplane. The pilot said that he was not concerned with the door, which would not have critically impacted the airplane’s performance; however, an experienced parachutist attempted to secure the door to the point where he was partially outside of the airplane.
Following an uneventful flight, the pilot overflew the destination airport and observed no apparent wind speed or direction on the windsock. The airplane approached the runway fast, and landed “very hard,” separating the right main landing gear from the airplane in the process.
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 airplane took off with its third lift of skydivers for the day. The engine began to run roughly at rotation, and due to the speed of the airplane, and the lack of remaining runway, the pilot elected to continue the takeoff. The pilot initially turned toward a public roadway for a forced landing, but the airplane continued to climb under partial power, so he maneuvered back to the airport for a downwind landing on the runway.
The airplane departed about 1130, and the outside air temperature at 1145 was 39 degrees F. The outside air temperature at 0747 was 28 degrees F. The pilot did not preheat the engine, and had difficulty starting it. On the third attempt, the engine started. The pilot then taxied to the runway, performed a rolling run-up, and departed.