On July 31, 2021, about 1125 central daylight time, a Cessna 182N airplane, N287TC, was
substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Ennis, Texas. The pilot was not
injured. The flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part
91 as a skydiving operation.
Before taking off for the skydiving flight with four passengers, the commercial pilot refueled the airplane. Shortly
after the airplane rotated, the passengers told the pilot that fuel was leaking from the left wing. The pilot
believed that the leak was an immediate fire risk, so he decided to perform an off-airport landing. The pilot
abruptly lowered the airplane’s nose and landed in a field. The airplane impacted terrain in a left-wing-low
attitude and then hit a berm. The engine and right main landing gear separated during the impact sequence, and
the left and right wings sustained substantial damage.
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 commercial pilot was returning the airplane to the departure airport for landing after a skydiving
flight. Two witnesses reported observing the pilot fly the airplane over the runway; one witness said it
was about 50 ft above ground level (agl), and the other witness said it was about 100 ft agl. One of the
witnesses added that, when the airplane reached the end of the runway, it pitched up about 45 degrees,
gained about 200 ft of altitude, and then entered a turn with a 45-bank angle. The witness added that,
after the airplane had turned about 90 degrees to a westerly heading, its nose dropped, and the airplane
“immediately dove.” The airplane subsequently entered a left spin and rotated about 180 degrees before
impacting trees and then the ground. A second witness noted that the engine sounded like it was at “full
throttle” during the descent as if the pilot was attempting to recover from the dive.
The pilot reported that, during the descent, he applied carburetor heat but that he then removed
carburetor heat when leveling off. The pilot reduced the throttle to slow the airplane while on final
approach. When he advanced the throttle to maintain airspeed, the engine power did not increase; the
pilot was unable to restore full engine power. The engine subsequently lost all power when the pilot
applied carburetor heat. During the forced landing to a field, the nose landing gear and propeller
contacted a barbed wire fence, and the airplane then nosed down, impacted the ground, and nosed over.
A postaccident examination revealed no mechanical failures that would have resulted in the loss of
engine power. The atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to the formation of
serious carburetor icing at glide power. It is likely that carburetor ice developed after the pilot reduced
the engine power/closed the throttle while in the traffic pattern without applying carburetor heat, which
resulted in a loss of engine power. The manufacturer’s before landing checklist states to apply carburetor
heat before closing the throttle.
Before the flight, the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing and departed without approval from
company personnel. The airplane departed the airport about 0230 and climbed to 14,500 feet mean sea
level. The pilot obtained visual flight rules (VFR) flight following services from air traffic control
(ATC) personnel during the flight. While the airplane was en route, ATC personnel advised the pilot that
an area of moderate precipitation was located about 15 miles ahead along the airplane’s flight path. The
pilot acknowledged the transmission and was then directed to contact another controller. About 3
minutes later, the new controller advised the pilot of an area of moderate to extreme precipitation about
2 miles ahead of the airplane. The pilot responded that he could see the weather and asked the controller
for a recommendation for a reroute. The controller indicated he didn’t have a recommendation, but
finished by saying a turn to the west (a right turn) away from the weather would probably be better. The
pilot responded that he would make a right turn. There was no further radio contact with the pilot. Flight
track data indicated the airplane was in a right turn when radar contact was lost. A review of the radar
data, available weather information, and airplane wreckage indicated the airplane flew through a heavy
to extreme weather radar echo containing a thunderstorm and subsequently broke up in flight.
Postaccident examination revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airframe and
engines that would have precluded normal operation.
While landing, the airplane touched down short of the runway, the left main landing gear impacted the edge of the runway and collapsed, and the airplane departed the edge of the runway into a culvert. The airplane’s left wing sustained substantial damage.
The airplane landed from a skydiving flight with a remaining passenger after three parachutists had jumped from the airplane. The engine was not shut down and the airplane was pointed toward the vehicle waiting for the passenger to deplane. When the passenger exited the airplane, a ground crewmember leaned toward the airplane to talk to the pilot while the passenger went around the right side of the airplane.
The private pilot stated that he was at an altitude of 3,500 feet when the engine stopped producing power. He made a forced landing to field and struck a cedar post with the airplane’s nose wheel and subsequently flipped over resulting in structural damage to the vertical stabilizer
Following three days of rain, the pilot attempted a soft field takeoff from a turf runway. The pilot reported that as the airplane was “sliding” down the runway he observed something on the windscreen that resembled oil, followed by a decrease in engine oil pressure.
The 568-hour commercial pilot was returning to a private airstrip for a night landing after releasing parachute jumpers. According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) the aircraft’s landing light was inoperative so in an attempt to identify the unlit grass runway, the pilot flew over the area several times to try to find the airstrip.
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.
During cruise flight, the 33,000-hour pilot stated that the airplane encountered “extreme clear air turbulence followed by three jolts in rapid succession.” He “heard a loud pop as he jerked the throttle to the flight idle position.” As the airspeed was slowing, the pilot attempted to add power. The “throttle would not move from the flight idle position and the propeller went into BETA.”
The commercial pilot reported a partial loss of engine power during takeoff. He was unable to restore full power, and made an emergency off-airport landing, which resulted in structural damage to the airplane. An FAA inspector and an aviation mechanic examined the engine and noted that the gasket between the air filter and carburetor was missing.
After the sky divers exited the airplane at 12,000 feet, the engine lost power while the airplane was descending through 10,000 feet. The pilot switched fuel tanks and engine power was reestablished. The engine again lost power at 4,000 feet and the pilot attempted a forced landing at his home base airport.
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.”