The pilot of ZK-KAY, a Pacific Aerospace PAC 750XL, was flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) on a cross-country flight, tracking south-east, close to Blithfield Reservoir. The pilot and passenger of Luscombe 8E Silvaire Deluxe G-AKUI were on a local flight from their base near the reservoir. G-AKUI entered a turn to the right shortly prior to the collision, possibly to avoid a third aircraft which later radar analysis showed was near.
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 was returning a group of skydivers to their home base after a weekend of skydiving. He flew several jump flights, and then stopped early in the afternoon to prepare the airplane for the flight home. The flight was planned into an area of clouds, turbulence, and icing, which the pilot had researched. He delayed the departure until he decided that he could complete the planned flight under visual flight rules (VFR).
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.
The commercial pilot was climbing the airplane with four skydivers aboard when the engine lost power. The pilot told the skydivers to jump when he could not restart the engine, and they all jumped successfully without injury. The pilot made a forced landing short of the departure runway, and the airplane collided with small trees, sustaining substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.
The pilot began descending when he thought all jumpers had departed the airplane, but 1 jumper remained. The remaining jumper realized the airplane was descending but was too late to stop his exit. After exiting the airplane he contacted the horizontal stabilizer and broke the femur of his left leg.
Following three days of rain, the pilot attempted a soft field takeoff from a turf runway. The pilot reported that as the airplane was “sliding” down the runway he observed something on the windscreen that resembled oil, followed by a decrease in engine oil pressure.
After preflighting the airplane, adding fuel and checking the oil, the pilot radioed that he was taxiing to runway 32. Witnesses subsequently observed the airplane takeoff on runway 32, make a 180-degree turn toward the south, and then fly downwind and parallel to the runway at an altitude of between 300 and 500 feet above ground level. At approximately the end of the runway the airplane was observed making a left turn onto base leg for runway 32, followed by a steep turn to final before nosing into the ground and bursting into flames.
The pilot checked the fuel quantity with a wooden stick and estimated 21 gallons of fuel was onboard for the parachute flight. The takeoff and climb to 10,000 feet msl, and release of the jumpers, was normal. On the return to the airport, while on the turn to base leg, the engine lost power.
After releasing skydivers, the pilot was descending the airplane from 11,000 feet and returning to his home airport. He utilized carburetor heat while descending to 3,000 feet, and everything seemed normal during the approach to the 3,999-foot-long asphalt runway. The bounced upon landing and the pilot initiated a go-around; however, the airplane experienced a loss of engine power during the initial climb, about 50 to 75 feet above ground level (agl).
The pilot stated she had been conducting parachute drop operations through out the day. The pilot departed on the last parachute drop flight at an undetermined time, completed the parachute drop, and descended with power on. The pilot did not apply carburetor heat during the descent because the carburetor heat control cable was stuck, and would not move for the last two days.