The pilot stated that after four parachutists had boarded the airplane, he began to taxi away from the gate. The pilot stated that the airplane traveled about 25 yards on the upward sloping grass terrain when the right main landing gear collapsed. Examination of the landing gear revealed a break approximately 10 inches from the inboard end of the landing gear leg at a point where it is clamped to the fuselage structure.
The pilot stated that the airplane was loaded to the maximum gross weight. He said that on the takeoff roll the airplane did not appear to accelerate, and he anticipated a liftoff speed of 60 to 65 knots. He said he then attempted to stop the airplane; however the brakes locked on the wet grass and the airplane exited the runway at the end and crossed a road before coming to a stop.
The pilot stated that he had refueled the airplane with approximately 3.5 inches of fuel, which equates to 15.5 gallons. According to the Pilot Operator Handbook at 6,500 feet the fuel burn is approximately 13.9 gallons an hour. The pilot flew the airplane for 1.5 hours before the accident. The engine began to run roughly after dropping skydivers and returning to base.
According to the FAA, the skydiver was standing on the strut preparing to jump when his pilot parachute opened and wrapped around the tail section of the airplane.
The pilot reported that as the airplane was descending through 4,000 feet msl it started loosing power. She leveled off, pulled carburetor heat on, and switched fuel tanks. She reported that, ‘Upon restart the engine backfired and quit.’ She reported that she trimmed the airplane for best glide (80 mph) and flew directly for the airport 2.5 miles away. At .5 miles from the airport she realized she would not make the runway so she decided to land short.
The parachute jump flight’s airplane was at 3,700 feet MSL when the pilot cancelled the operation with the FAA approach controller without explanation. Witnesses observed the airplane trailing white and black smoke. One witness said he saw the airplane trailing black smoke with its engine making a banging sound. Three witnesses at the accident airport said the airplane had smoke and flames coming from the airplane’s cowl and along the windshield as it approached the airport.
After three uneventful parachute drop flights with three or four jumpers each, the pilot landed and picked up two jumpers. During the next takeoff roll, the pilot aborted the takeoff and was unable to stop the airplane before it struck a fence at the end of the 2,200 foot asphalt runway. The pilot stated ‘everything was normal, except the plane didn’t lift off.’