The airplane used for the skydiving operation was equipped with a foot step just above the right wheel, which the skydivers used to launch from the airplane. As the last of four skydivers stepped on the foot step, the right main landing gear fell away. The pilot reported that after he flew around for about 1 1/2 hours to burn off fuel, he intended to perform a low pass over the runway before coming around to land.
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.