On June 12, 2017, about 2255 eastern daylight time, a Cessna P206A, N206TF, was substantially damaged during a forced landing while on approach to Eagles Nest Airport (31E), West Creek, New Jersey. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was owned and operated by Seasky27 Productions LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a maintenance test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed but not activated for the flight that originated about 1 hour earlier from Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), Danbury, Connecticut.
The airplane experienced a total loss of engine power during a skydiving flight. After the pilot switched the fuel tank selector from the left fuel tank to the right fuel tank position, the engine restarted. The pilot continued the flight. While returning to the departure airport and preparing for landing, the pilot switched the fuel tank selector back to the left fuel tank position because the fuel gauge indicated a greater fuel quantity.
During takeoff the airplane, which was taking off for a parachute jump, collided with trees lining the side of the grass runway. The pilot said that a previous flight that day had been uneventful. During the accident takeoff he said he heard a “pop” at rotation and the airplane pulled to the left.
Surviving skydivers said that as the airplane was climbing to the jump altitude of 10,500 feet agl, the stall warning horn sounded intermittently several times. They paid no particular attention to it because they had heard it on previous flights. When the airplane reached the jump altitude, the pilot signaled for one of the parachutists to open the door. When she did, she told the pilot that the airplane had overshot the drop zone by approximately 1 mile.
The pilot was returning to the airport after releasing some skydivers. He was following a training airplane in the traffic pattern and was gaining on it, so he decided to extend his downwind leg. On final approach to runway 08, his airplane was still gaining on the other airplane. The pilot reduced power and raised the nose to reduce airspeed to 85 mph.
The pilot reported that shortly after reaching an altitude of 400 feet agl after takeoff, the engine quit suddenly. He immediately pumped the throttle two times, and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump, but this did not restore engine power. He made a hard forced landing in an industrial park near the airport.
According to the pilot, she dropped her load of skydivers and was coming in for a landing. She “could see fog rolling in fast” and knew she “had to get…on the ground.” She “landed at a higher speed which is normally fine but because of the runway conditions, which were slick, [she] had minimal braking and ran out of runway.”
The pilot did not perform weight and balance calculations for the accident flight; though, postaccident calculations indicated that the airplane was under gross weight and the center of gravity was within limits. The pilot reported that he did not have any memory of the accident flight. The accident flight was the second flight of the day for the pilot and began immediately after landing from the previous skydive drop flight.
The airplane entered an inverted spin during a skydiving operation when a parachutist’s parachute deployed while exiting the airplane at 10,500 feet mean sea level. The parachute became entangled around the right hand landing gear and the parachutist could not be freed. The pilot, who was wearing a parachute, and the remaining parachutists jumped from the airplane.
The airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with trees and terrain during a forced landing to a field following an in-flight loss of engine power. Skydivers had been dropped prior to the loss of engine power and the pilot reported no injuries. The pilot stated, “I climbed to 11000 [feet.] Was not getting usual climb rate. Before decent found I could not close cowl flaps. Decended to 6000 feet. Noticed eratic raise on manifold gage.
During a parachute jump activity one of the two parachutists on the airplane’s jump step began a cadence used to jump from the step. According to the jumpmaster the parachutist began an exaggerated rocking motion. During this rocking motion his reserve parachute’s ripcord pin protective flap brushed against the airplane’s open door.
The pilot stated that after climbing to 10,000′ msl on a skydiving flight, the occupants began preparations for the fourth and final parachute jump of the day. The first parachutist (skydiver) of three was standing on the right wing strut preparing to jump, when his main parachute (that he had packed himself) deployed inadvertently.
The parachute of one of the jumpers deployed prematurely. The shroud lines entangled in the right horizontal stabilizer & elevator. As the parachute inflated, the stabilizer was bent downward, & the elevator partially ripped from the trailing edge of the stabilizer. The jumper was liberated from the entanglement & safely landed using his reserve chute.The remaining jumpers exited the acft & the plt safely landed the acft.