On June 21, 2019, at 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech 65-A90, N256TA, collided with terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and ten passengers sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC, and was being operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local sky-diving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The skydiving airplane was on a ramp with its engines operating while the pilot waited for passengers to
board. The pilot asked an employee of the skydiving operator if he could order something to eat for
lunch. The employee responded that she had time to come see the pilot at the airplane because she was
expecting a small delay before the next flight. The pilot thought the delay was not long enough to justify
shutting down the engines. The pilot observed the employee exit the manifest office and run toward the
airplane. The skydiving operator typically flew single-engine airplanes with the propeller located in
front of the cockpit; however, the accident airplane was a twin-engine airplane with its propellers
located under each wing. The operator’s employee subsequently walked into the operating propeller
under the airplane’s left wing, sustaining fatal injuries.
The airplane had climbed to an altitude of about 11,000 feet mean sea level (msl) with 12 parachutists
seated inside the airplane on two rear-facing “straddle benches.” The airplane was flying at an indicated
speed of 100 mph with the flaps retracted. The operator’s written guidance for “skydiving jump runs”
indicated that the airspeed should be maintained at 110 to 120 mph and that the flaps should be set at 30
degrees. As the airplane arrived at the planned drop location, the parachutists stood up, opened the door,
and moved farther aft in the airplane to prepare for their jump. Five of the parachutists were positioned
aft of the straddle benches and were hanging onto the outside of the airplane, several of the other
parachutists were standing in the door, and the remainder of the parachutists were standing in the cabin
forward of the door. According to instructions on the operator’s skydiver briefing card, no more than
four jumpers should be allowed to occupy the door area during exit. Several parachutists heard the
sounds of the airplane’s stall warning system, and the airplane then suddenly rolled and began to
descend. All 12 parachutists quickly exited the airplane. Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane
turning and descending in an inverted nose-down attitude and then appear to briefly recover, but it then
entered a nearly vertical dive, which is consistent with a loss of control event as a result of an
aerodynamic stall and subsequent entry into a spin.
Before the flight, the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing and departed without approval from
company personnel. The airplane departed the airport about 0230 and climbed to 14,500 feet mean sea
level. The pilot obtained visual flight rules (VFR) flight following services from air traffic control
(ATC) personnel during the flight. While the airplane was en route, ATC personnel advised the pilot that
an area of moderate precipitation was located about 15 miles ahead along the airplane’s flight path. The
pilot acknowledged the transmission and was then directed to contact another controller. About 3
minutes later, the new controller advised the pilot of an area of moderate to extreme precipitation about
2 miles ahead of the airplane. The pilot responded that he could see the weather and asked the controller
for a recommendation for a reroute. The controller indicated he didn’t have a recommendation, but
finished by saying a turn to the west (a right turn) away from the weather would probably be better. The
pilot responded that he would make a right turn. There was no further radio contact with the pilot. Flight
track data indicated the airplane was in a right turn when radar contact was lost. A review of the radar
data, available weather information, and airplane wreckage indicated the airplane flew through a heavy
to extreme weather radar echo containing a thunderstorm and subsequently broke up in flight.
Postaccident examination revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airframe and
engines that would have precluded normal operation.
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.
During a skydiving flight at approximately 14,000 feet, an instructor positioned himself at the door opening with his jump student nearby. The student inadvertently pulled the instructor’s reserve parachute D-ring, deploying the chute and pulling the instructor out of the airplane
The commercial pilot reported that he was en route to a parachutist jump zone on the first of two planned jumps. Prior to the first jump, before he had slowed the airplane, or illuminated the green jump light, indicating that the parachutists had permission to jump, two of the parachutists prematurely jumped.
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.
The pilot stated that after the 14 jumpers left the airplane at 13,500 feet, southwest of the airport, he started his descent to the northeast. He approached the airport from the northeast overflew the airport, and made a left turn to enter the downwind leg for runway 23. He saw some parachutes on the ground and some in the air.
The airplane had not been flown for about 5 years prior to the accident, and was undergoing maintenance in preparation of a ferry flight. A mechanic reported that he had asked the pilot to conduct some engine run-ups as close to full power as possible. The pilot taxied to runway 35, a 2,470 foot-long, 35 foot-wide, gravel and turf runway; where he performed two high speed engine run-ups.
A de Havilland DHC-6 and a Beech King Air 90 were to make a formation air drop of skydivers from 14,000 feet msl. The de Havilland was to be the lead aircraft with the King Air in trail. As the skydivers prepared to exit, the King Air was traveling faster than the de Havilland, and the pilot of the King Air had to pitch up and bank right to avoid the de Havilland.
The pilot and eight parachutists were returning from a skydive meet. The pilot had obtained a weather briefing, which advised of instrument meteorological conditions at the destination, and filed a VFR flight plan, but it was never activated. Witnesses heard, but could not see, a twin engine turboprop pass over the airport, heading north out over the Great Salt Lake. They described the weather conditions as being a low ceiling with 1/4-mile visibility,
The flight had proceeded without incident until a visual approach was made to the destination airport, but a landing was not completed because of poor visibility due to ground fog. The pilot then requested vectors to another airport, and was advised by ATC that he was below radar coverage, and he could not be radar identified. The pilot stated he would proceed to a third airport;
The airplane impacted the terrain approximately 2,065 feet south of the departure end of runway 22. Damage to the cockpit section of the wreckage indicated a nose down crush angle of approximately 80 degrees. The wreckage path was on a 208 degree heading, and the distance from the initial impact to the location of the empennage was about 142 feet. The cockpit and cabin were destroyed by post impact fire.
Following the 12th sport parachute jump of the day, which occurred after sunset, ground witnesses observed the airplane descend into the ocean in a left wing low, nose down attitude. They did not hear the engines sputtering or popping, or see the airplane make any erratic movements during its descent.
During the loading of 17 parachutists, a 31-year-old male parachutist notified the loader/jump master that on his next jump he would have a smoke canister on the airplane and that the pilot should be notified.
The flight returned from dropping parachutists, and the pilot left the engines running as the next load of parachutists loaded. A passenger, who had ridden on the previous flight, was instructed by the pilot to exit through the rear door and that ground personnel would direct her.
The airplane was loaded with 10 sport parachutists and one pilot. Later, investigators calculated that the maximum gross weight was exceeded by 149.6 pounds, and the center of gravity was 2.87 inches aft of the aft limit. The cabin door had been removed for parachuting operations; however, an altered Flight Manual Supplement had been used as authority for the door removal.
During an attempted freestyle jump from 10,500 feet msl, the parachutist gripped a bar in the airplane, then swung his legs outside and let go. During this attempted exit, the parachutist hit his head on the doorway floor.
The reserve parachute of one of the skydivers inadvertently deployed and pulled him out of the airplane, striking the left horizontal stabilizer. Examination of the reserve parachute revealed no evidence of any fault with the automatic signaling device.
After takeoff, the airplane was seen at low altitude trailing smoke from the left engine. Witnesses saw the wings ‘tipping’ back and forth, then a wing dropped and hit the ground. Examination revealed that a supercharger bearing had failed in the left engine. The left engine had been recently installed by non-certificated personnel after being inactive for 18 yrs without preservation.
The ground loader had fueled the airplane from the airport fuel truck. He stated that the flight crew did not sump the fuel tanks after they were fueled. Immediately after takeoff the right engine lost power, the right wing lowered to about 90 deg, and the airplane impacted the ground adjacent to the runway. Then forward fuel tank, which provides fuel to the right engine, was found to contain about 8 gals of a heavily contaminated mixture composed of water,
During a skydiving operation, the aircraft was slowed to slow cruise flight for a parachute jump. As skydivers were moving to the exit door for a group jump, the d-ring of one skydiver’s reserve parachute became entangled on a protruding cabin door support bracket. The reserve chute deployed & was caught in the slip stream. The skydiver was then pulled from the open door. He impacted the right horizontal stabilizer, fell 4000 ft to the ground & was fatally injured. Most of the right stabilizer was torn from the aircraft. After its separation, the aircraft entered a dive & the remaining skydivers jumped from the plane.
The acft was on a sport parachute flt to carry 24 parachutists to 12,500′ over a drop zone (dz) for a mass jump. It was in a cargo configuration with no passenger seats, but it had 1 jump seat. There were 24 seat belts on the floor of the cargo area. Also, the cabin door had been removed & an unapproved step & 4 handholds were installed outside & forward of the cabin door for parachutists. The usual jump-run procedure was for the acft to be slowed to 95 to 100 kts, extend the gear & apch flaps & reduce power on the left eng. The jumpers remained in position without using seat belts until apchg the dz, then 2 moved outside the acft while others moved close to the doorway. The 1st jumpers were unaware of anyproblem, but saw the acft enter a steep bank, roll over & spiral nose down. 16 jumpers exited the acft, but 3 hit the stabilizer. The acft crashed in a near vertical dscnt. Investigation revealed the cg was behind the aft limit for takeoff & the jump. The elevator trim actuator was found in a position for full nose-up trim.
Three observers accompanied the aircrew & other passengers on a flt to transport skydivers aloft. Prior to the flt, all 3 of the observers were briefed not to exit the acft until the engines were secured. However, 1 of the 3 discussed the need to move a cessna 172 at the completion of the flt. After returning from the flt, the aircrew stopped the plane on the ramp. While the engines were still running, the occupant that wanted to move the cessna exited the acft. Unbeknown to him & the plt, the other 2 occupants also exited the acft. One of them walked into the arc of the left propeller & received a fatal head injury.