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.
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 local parachuting flight was to depart from the airport owned and maintained by the pilot. During the initial climb after takeoff from runway 09, the airplane drifted right and struck trees about 500 feet down the runway. The pilot stated that he did not see the trees before hitting them. A passenger stated that the pilot did not make any changes to the airplane’s flight path prior to impact with the trees.
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 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.
During takeoff roll, the airplane’s right landing gear tire blew. The left wing raised up and the airplane drifted right. The pilot shut down the power. The pilot then stated that the right wheel caught the raised grass area on the edge of the runway. The airplane’s tail swung to the right and the right landing gear collapsed.
The pilot stated that after skydivers exited the aircraft, he began a descent from 10,500 feet msl in the direction of the airport. He stated that upon reaching 2000 feet msl, he enriched the mixture, and the engine lost power. He stated he elected to land on a nearby road. The airplane collided with a pick-up truck and departed the road to the right.
The pilot stated that while the first parachutist was climbing out on the airplanes strut, her pilot chute got caught on a safety belt resulting in the inadvertent deployment of her main parachute, which streamed back over the right horizontal stabilizer. The parachutist went under as the main parachute went over the top of the stabilizer.
The pilot told an FAA inspector that he had completed an air drop of skydivers at 14,000 feet and was returning to land. During the descent, the engine quit. The pilot initially thought it was due to carburetor ice, but then realized that he ran “out of fuel.” The pilot was forced to land the airplane short of the runway.
According to the pilot, after the four parachute jumpers exited the airplane, and as he maneuvered the airplane for a landing, the engine lost power. Initial efforts by the pilot to restore full power were unsuccessful, however as the pilot continued, the engine regained partial power. The pilot entered a straight approach for runway 18
After departure, at an altitude of approximately 500 feet agl, the 2,100-hour pilot reported the engine “lost most of its power output.” The pilot stated he applied carburetor heat and did not notice improvement. The pilot banked the airplane slightly to the right to avoid an approaching tree line and initiated an emergency landing to an open grass field.