“On August 25, 2018, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4785D, was destroyed after a collision with terrain at East Georgia Regional Airport (SBO), Swainsboro, Georgia. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, while one passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center as a skydiving flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.”
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Witnesses observed the airplane depart to the north, and experience a partial loss of power during the takeoff climb. The airplane then began a turn to the left, and initiated what appeared to be a right base entry for a landing on runway 20. The airplane continued the turn, past 270 degrees, and as it flew beyond the end of the runway, the engine appeared to regain power and the airplane began a climb.
The airplane quickly became airborne and started an extremely steep climb for several hundred feet, which was followed by an equally steep descent until the airplane collided with terrain. The airplane had just completed one jump flight, and a different pilot fueled the airplane in preparation for the accident flight. The airplane was configured with one seat on the left side for the pilot and a 2-inch pad with seat belts for up to four skydivers.
The pilot was asked by the airport manager to fly a parachute jump flight in a cessna 172. The manager suggested that the pilot make a soft field takeoff & climb straight out to gain altitude. Witnesses reported the takeoff and initial climb appeared normal, but at about 200′ agl, the airplane leveled off, then descended about 50′ and continued forward for a moment
Witnesses observed the takeoff roll as being unusually long. The acft never climbed much above 100-200 ft agl, & struck trees 1/2 mi off the end of the rwy. The flaps were observed up during takeoff. Normal takeoff flap setting used by the club for carrying jumpers is 10 deg. The acft was 166 pounds over max gross weight & the cg was beyond the aft limit. The density altitude was approximately 2,000 ft. The plt had never flown a c-182 or a constant speed propeller equipped acft prior to his checkout with the parachute club the week before the accident. The day of the accident was the first time he had carried any jumpers. The plt had agreed to fly for the club for no compensation other than to build flt time.