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 pilot of the cessna 182 was descending in a right turn after dropping parachute jumpers at 4500 ft msl. As he descended below 1500 ft msl, his aircraft collided with a beech a36. The a36 had departed from the queen city airport and was in the traffic pattern to land at the airport when the collision occurred. The cessna crashed in a paved parking lot of a shopping center and the beech crashed into a new car dealership’s parking lot. Both aircraft were destroyed along with several cars in the dealership’s lot.
After dropping skydivers the pilot entered a descent to return to the airport for another load of jumpers. He was receiving radar advisories during the drop from a tracon controller. As the aircraft descended below 4,000 feet msl the controller terminated the radar advisory service. Immediately after the controller discontinued the service he asked the pilot to check for a stuck microphone switch. The aircraft continued its descent and collided with a camping trailer and building under construction in an extreme nose low attitude. The elevator trim was found in the full nose down position. No other malfunctions were found.
The non-instrument rated plt was on a flt to psn the acft for sky diving activities. As he was transiting the albany arpt radar svc area at 5500′, radio and radar ctc were lost. Subsequently, the acft crashed in a steep dive and was demolished by impact. Psnl in the area rprtd an ovc cond and estd the vis was at least 1 mi. Abt 12 mi ese, the 0750 albany wx was in part: 1200′ sct, 6000′ bkn. Vis 2 mi with fog. Low clouds at the rprtg stn had lifted by the time of the acdnt.
Both acft were operating in vfr conditions modified by slight haze, high overcast and low sun angle near airport. N6161m was performing lazy eight maneuvers in a normal practice area two miles east of airport; n8267q was in clockwise orbital descent for landing following a parachute jump plane. Radar data and witness informtion show that on east side of airport, n8267q deviated from orbit and proceeded southeast as n6161m completed north end of figure eight in right turn away from airport and proceeded south. Acft converged at about 30 degree closing angle with n6161m climbing and n8267q descending and collided at about 2500 ft agl.
Acft crashed immediately after takeoff on a flt to discharge jumpers over a drop zone located on the arpt. Witnesses stated that shortly after liftoff the acft entered a steep left bank estimated between 45 and 70 degs. After about 120 degs of turn the acft stalled and impacted the ground in about an 80 deg nose down attitude, with the left wing leading. Alt at the time the maneuver was attempted was aprx 125′ agl. Winds at the time of the accident were down the departure rwy at 10 kts gusting to 18 kts. One witness estimated the winds at 20 kts gusting to 25 kts. Research indicated that the acfts stall speed would have increased btw 40 and 100 percent during the turn depending on bank angle. The plt had a total of 3 hrs in this make and model of acft.
As the plt & 16 jumpers deptd on a skydiving flt, the eng lost pwr at aprx 300′ agl. The acft then banked steeply left, spiraled in a steep nose dwn attitude & crashed. An exam revealed fuel in the tanks was contaminated with wtr & foreign material with the appearance of brown algae. Milky fluid (aprx 65% jet fuel & 34% wtr) was fnd in the eng fuel control, as well as iron contaminants. Dark stringy material was fnd in the fuel filters. The acft had been refueled fm 55 gal drums which contained contaminated fuel. The drums were stored upright & rain water could leak thru the filler caps. N551cc had a history of fuel contamination which on occasions caused the fuel bypass indicator to display. Rprtdly, the stall warning circuit brkr had been disengaged on other occasions, so as not to startle the jumpers; however, due to dmg, its preimpact psn could not be verified. Acft was estd to be 370 lbs ovr its max wt lmt & 1′ fwd of the cg lmt. The9 pax seats had been rmvd to haul up to 18 jumpers. Pax seat belts were not used. Lack of faa surveillance was noted.
After dropping the parachutist, the acft was observed to fly eastward over the dz, make a left 180 turn, line up on the parked van on an easterly heading and descend to a low altiude. Witnesses estimated the altitude at from 10 t0 30 ft agl. The van was parked on a ridge across the flt path. The acft made a low alt-high speed run toward the van. Just before striking the van with the ldg gear, the acft seemed to duck under a low power line in its path.
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.
The acft was on a parachute jumping mission. After climbing to 9000 ft msl, 4 sky divers jumped out & the plt began a descent back to the arpt. The acft was seen level at aprx 500 ft agl & in the aprx position for a downwind leg for a left pattern for runway 36. About 1/2 mi north of the normal turn point for the base leg, the acft began a steep descending left turn. Witnesses described a bank angle of 45 to 75 deg & a nose down attitude of 20 to 30 deg. One of the witnesses reported that the bank and descent angles then began to decrease, but at impact, the nose was still low & the bank angle was about 20 deg. Observers saw no indication of plt control movement before impact. An exam of the wreckage revealed no evidence of an inflt failure/malfunction. The plt’s wife said that onoccasions, he had experienced severe headaches, but never to an alarming point. She reported that he took only asprin for the headaches. Pathological & toxicological exams reflected no evidence of a preimpact incapactiating problem.
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.
The aircraft was on a local flight involving a parachute jumping activity. In addition to the pilot, there were 12 parachutists and an observer on board. The pilot initiated his takeoff on runway 18. A witness stated that shortly after takeoff, the engine power was reduced to climb power, followed by the gear retraction. Reportedly, the aircraft had climbed to about 150 ft agl when the nose pitched up, th plane rolled to the left and then it crashed in a steep left bank, nose down attitude. An investigation revealed that the aircraft was loaded well beyond its maximum gross weight and aft cg limits. The amount of fuel on board was not verified, but even with no fuel, the plane would have been about 580 lbs over the maximum limit. With 100 gallons, the estimated gross weight would have been about 9939 lbs with the cg at about 121 inches. The maximum certificated gross weight was 8750 lbs with an aft cg limit of 117.6 inches. Extensive ground fire damage, but no preimpact, mechanical discrepancies evident.
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.