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.
The pilot and 21 jumpers were aboard the airplane for the local skydiving flight. The airplane took off to the north on the wet grass runway. Jumpers reported that during the initial takeoff climb, the aircraft assumed a “very steep angle of attack,” and described the pilot “winding the wheel on the lower right side of the chair clockwise, frantically,” and “busy with a wheel between the seats.”
The pilot of the skydiver dropping aircraft reported that the engine lost power at the end of his descent from the 12,000-foot drop altitude as the airplane approached a landing 3-mile base leg. When the engine lost power, he checked that the fuel selector was in the “both” tanks position, the mixture was in the “rich” position, and checked individual magnetos; all with no effect.
The airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with trees and terrain during a forced landing to a field following an in-flight loss of engine power. Skydivers had been dropped prior to the loss of engine power and the pilot reported no injuries. The pilot stated, “I climbed to 11000 [feet.] Was not getting usual climb rate. Before decent found I could not close cowl flaps. Decended to 6000 feet. Noticed eratic raise on manifold gage.
The flight departed with approximately 20 gallons of fuel in each fuel tank and offloaded skydivers at 10,500 feet, then descended to return with the throttle at idle, the fuel/air ratio leaned; and carburetor heat applied. At 2,000 feet, the pilot began to level off and, “realized I was having engine trouble and began my emergency procedures for an engine failure at altitude….”
After discharging three parachutists into a drop zone from about 12,000 feet mean sea level, the pilot attempted to return to the departure airport. The engine began surging as the airplane descended through 8,000 feet. The pilot continued the descent and entered the departure airport’s traffic pattern. He misjudged his distance from the runway, and when all engine power was lost turning onto the final approach leg he was unable to glide to the runway.
The flight had proceeded without incident until a visual approach was made to the destination airport, but a landing was not completed because of poor visibility due to ground fog. The pilot then requested vectors to another airport, and was advised by ATC that he was below radar coverage, and he could not be radar identified. The pilot stated he would proceed to a third airport;
The pilot reported that she taxied the aircraft to the grass covered run-up area in preparation for takeoff. As the aircraft moved over the grass, a ‘snapping’ sound was heard and the aircraft ’tilted back and to the right.’ The right wing and right side stabilizer contacted the ground.
After takeoff the pilot raised the landing gear and then had to take evasive action to the right to avoid a flock of birds. As he performed the evasive maneuver, he raised the flaps. The aircraft was slow, and he kept the nose down to build up speed for the climb. Just as he was to commence the climb, he caught a glimpse of a wire ahead. He pulled up rapidly, but contacted the wire with the right wing.
Prior to the day of the accident, the pilot had not flown out of the airstrip. During takeoff, the airplane traveled over a ‘soft spot’, and began to veer to the left. The pilot was unable to correct the turn, the airplane went off the left side of the runway and struck a tree. The runway was 1,515 feet long, 110 feet wide, and consisted of soft turf. Review of the pilot’s weight and balance calculations revealed that the airplane was approximately 300 pounds over the maximum gross takeoff weight.
AFTER FUELING THE AIRCRAFT, THE PILOT OBSERVED ‘A LOT’ OF WATER IN THE FUEL, WHEN CHECKING THE SUMPS. HE SHOOK THE WINGS, AND AGAIN OBSERVED WATER. HE ALLOWED THE AIRCRAFT TO SIT FOR ABOUT AN HOUR, THEN HE CHECKED THE SUMPS AGAIN. HE DRAINED WATER UNTIL NO MORE WATER WAS OBSERVED. AT ABOUT 200 FEET AGL, DURING THE INITIAL CLIMB, THE ENGINE QUIT.
The pilot had taken a newlywed couple up on a ceremonial ‘mile high’ local pleasure flight as a wedding gift. He reported that during a maneuver he felt a ‘shudder’, and elected to make a low pass over an airport taxiway, by some friends on the ground with a hand-held radio, for a ‘landing gear check’. During the second pass the pilot asked the couple to ‘look to the right where the moon shines over barnwell.’ the airplane collided with a spectator on the taxiway. A pax stated that the pilot then ‘freaked out’ and was in no condition to fly the airplane. During a subsequent landing attempt, a pax prevented a go-around by forcing the yoke forward and pushing on the brake pedals with his hands. The pax stated the pilot ‘wanted to keep flying and he was going nuts.’ the pilot fled the scene after the accident but returned later. The pilot had arranged to have the people on the ground ‘moon’ the airplane during the low pass.