The pilot reported that he was landing in gusty crosswind conditions following a parachute jump flight, and that the gusty conditions had persisted for the previous 10 skydiving flights that day. The pilot further reported that during the landing roll, when the nose wheel touched down, the airplane became “unstable” and veered to the left. He reported that he applied right rudder and added power to abort the landing, but the airplane departed the runway to the left and the left wing impacted a tree. The airplane spun 180 degrees to the left and came to rest after the impact with the tree.
The airplane lost engine power during descent. The 1,127-hour pilot elected to perform emergency engine out procedures and prepared for an emergency landing. After impact, the pilot observed the right engine nacelle engulfed in flames, which then spread to the fuselage. Review of the engine logbook revealed the engine was being operated in excess of 1,000 hours of the manufacturer’s recommended time between overhauls of 3,600 hours.
A de Havilland DHC-6 and a Beech King Air 90 were to make a formation air drop of skydivers from 14,000 feet msl. The de Havilland was to be the lead aircraft with the King Air in trail. As the skydivers prepared to exit, the King Air was traveling faster than the de Havilland, and the pilot of the King Air had to pitch up and bank right to avoid the de Havilland.