The airplane was operating as part of a commercial skydiving operation, Ultimate Skydiving
Adventures, LLC, based at the Blake Field Airport (AJZ), Delta, Colorado. The pilot had just completed
the 8th skydiving flight of the day, the skydivers onboard had already egressed from the airplane, and the
pilot was returning to land at AJZ. About 8,000 ft msl, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot
attempted to troubleshoot the total loss of engine power with no change. The pilot decided she would be
unable to make it back to AJZ due to the loss of engine power.
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.
On August 28, 2020, about 1100 mountain standard time, a Cessna TU206B, N3422L, was
substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Grand Canyon, Arizona. The
pilot sustained a minor injury. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal
Regulations Part 91 air drop flight.
On September 20, 2019, about 1230 central daylight time, a Cessna 208B, N895SF, was substantially damaged during a hard landing at Pepperell Airport (26MA), Pepperell, Massachusetts. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight that departed at 1215. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
On June 29, 2019, about 0910 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 208B, N80JF, was substantially damaged while landing at Blackwater Creek Ultralight Flightpark (9FD2), Plant City, Florida. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to ISR Aviation LLC and operated as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 skydiving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The local flight originated about 0900.
“According to the pilot, he started carrying skydivers several days before the accident after familiarizing himself with the airport and airplane. The accident occurred on the fourth flight of the day. Around 2,000 ft during the initial climb, the airplane experienced a radio failure and the pilot noted a slight change in engine sound. He consulted with one of the tandem skydivers and continued to climb to 7,500 ft to allow the two pairs of skydivers to jump, which he felt was the safest course of action.”
The pilot reported that, while he was climbing the airplane to jump altitude with skydivers onboard, it
encountered “light rain,” so he decided to postpone the jump and return to the airport. Upon crossing the
runway threshold, about 100 ft above ground level, he initiated a go-around, but the airplane “did not
climb.” The pilot then decided to land on the remaining runway. After touchdown, he applied full
braking, but the airplane overran the end of the runway into a corn field.
The commercial pilot reported that he had been conducting skydiving support flights on the day of the
accident. Before his first flight, the airplane had about 23 gallons of fuel onboard. He flew the airplane
for about 4.0 hours and then added about 18 gallons of fuel to the airplane. He flew three more local
flights and then made a second fuel stop and added 14 gallons of fuel to the airplane. The pilot did not
conduct fuel consumption checks to estimate the engine’s fuel consumption rate nor did he check the
total fuel quantity in the tanks after the first and second refuelings. After making two more local flights
and while on final approach to the airport, the engine lost total power, and the pilot conducted a forced
landing to a residential area, during which the right elevator and right wing sustained substantial
The pilot stated that shortly after takeoff on the skydiving flight, the airplane’s engine made a “clicking”
sound and lost power. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a field, during which the
airplane flipped over and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, right wing, and tail. Examination
of the engine revealed the crankcase web mating surfaces at the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 bearing saddles
exhibited pitting consistent with fretting, which was indicative of improper preloading (torque) of the
through bolts. Additionally, the No. 2 main bearing was displaced from its saddle and severely worn,
and the crankshaft fractured due to fatigue. A review of maintenance records revealed the engine’s
camshaft and lifters were replaced about 280 hours before the accident; this was the last documented
time during which the applicable through bolts and associated nuts would have been assembled. Given
this information, it is likely that maintenance personnel failed to properly apply torque to these through
bolts during this maintenance, which ultimately resulted in the crankshaft failure and the subsequent loss
of engine power.
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 commercial pilot was conducting a cross-country flight to deliver the airplane to a maintenance
facility. The airplane departed with full fuel tanks. The pilot stated that, as the airplane neared the
planned fuel stop airport, he thought that there was adequate fuel remaining to reach the maintenance
facility, so he did not stop to refuel and continued to the destination. About 4 hours 23 minutes into the
flight, which was past the expected fuel exhaustion time of about 4 hours 18 minutes (assuming a fuel
burn of 50 gallons per hour, which the pilot used for his initial flight planning), the pilot declared an
emergency and advised an air traffic controller that the airplane was out of fuel. The controller provided
information to the pilot about nearby airports, but the airplane would not have been able to reach any of
them, so the pilot initiated a forced landing to a field. Before touchdown in the field, the pilot descended
to avoid power lines ahead, but the airplane hit one of the lines. The airplane touched down in the field,
impacted an embankment, and came to rest upright on a road. The airplane sustained substantial
The pilot was conducting parachute jump operations near the airport. After climbing to altitude, he
released his jumpers and returned to land. The pilot reported that, during the landing flare, the airplane
struck the runway nosewheel first. He added that the airplane bounced, floated down the runway, and
then settled to the right of the runway.
The pilot reported that he departed for a parachute jump flight with 12 gallons of fuel onboard. He added
that, after the parachute jumpers exited the airplane about 10,500 ft mean sea level (msl), he initiated a
left spiraling descent back to the airport. He further added that he “heard and felt the engine start [to]
quiet down as if it was shutting down.” He then began to make right descending turns and verified that
the fuel selector was in the “both” position. He added that the cylinder head temperature was decreasing,
so he switched back to left descending turns and that the “fuel starvation due to banking happened two
The commercial pilot was on the second leg of a postmaintenance flight. The first flight leg, which was
about 1-hour long, was uneventful, and the pilot reported that the fuel selector was positioned to the
right tank during this flight leg. He landed the airplane but did not purchase fuel before departing for the
return leg. The pilot reported that, during the return leg, the fuel selector was positioned to the left tank.
While on final approach to the airport, the pilot added power to go around. He turned onto the crosswind
and then downwind legs of the airport traffic pattern, and while on the downwind leg, the engine lost all
power. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the right tank, but engine power was not restored.
Realizing that the airplane would be unable to reach the runway, the pilot conducted a forced landing in
trees, and the airplane came to rest inverted.
According to the pilot, he landed the airplane on the 1,800-ft-long asphalt runway in the rain at 70 mph
with full flaps. He reported that, on final, he had considered conducting a go-around due to wind and
weather, but “we were low, slow, and 130 pounds below maximum gross weight with very dynamic
wind conditions at the time and …apartment buildings about 400 yards beyond the end of runway 19.”
During the landing, he touched down with a right crosswind, about 600 ft beyond the runway threshold.
The pilot reported that, during the takeoff roll, the airplane encountered a wind gust and veered left off
the runway centerline. He added that the airplane became airborne but that he did not have “enough
time” to avoid a parked helicopter. Subsequently, the left wing impacted the helicopter. He then reduced
the engine power, and the airplane landed without further incident.
On the fourth skydiving flight of the day, the commercial pilot climbed the airplane to 10,000 ft mean
sea level (msl), and after the last jumper had departed the airplane, the pilot initiated a steep left turning
descent. When the airplane was at 3,000 ft msl, the engine lost total power. The pilot was unable to
restart the engine and turned the airplane to land on the runway, but when he realized that it would not
be able to reach the runway, he landed in a field short of the approach end of the runway. During the
ground roll, the airplane nosed over and then came to rest inverted. The fuselage and wings sustained
The private pilot was landing the airplane at the conclusion of a cross-country flight when the engine
experienced a total loss of power in the airport traffic pattern. The pilot attempted to restart the engine
without success and subsequently landed the airplane in a field, where it impacted a fence and irrigation
equipment. The pilot stated the right fuel tank was selected at the time of the accident. Postaccident
examination revealed that the right tank contained 14 to 15 gallons of fuel, and that the left fuel tank
contained about 1 gallon of fuel. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. The engine functioned
normally during a postaccident test run. Given the lack of engine anomalies, it is likely that the airplane
was operating on the left tank at the time of the accident, and the loss of engine power was the result of
fuel starvation; it is likely that the pilot moved the fuel selector to the right tank position during his
attempt to restart the engine.
The pilot in the tricycle-gear-equipped airplane reported that he landed about 4 ft short of the asphalt
runway. The nose landing gear struck the 6-inch-high asphalt perimeter and separated from the airplane.
The pilot aborted the landing, the airplane bounced, and the pilot established a climb. He completed one
traffic pattern and an approach. During the second landing, the pilot chose to land on the turf safety area
parallel to the runway. When the airplane’s main landing gear touched down on the turf surface, the
airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall, fuselage, left wing, and
The commercial pilot was conducting a skydiving flight with a night aerial pyrotechnic display.
According to the pilot and the lead jumper, who was also one of the airplane’s co-owners, a pyrotechnic
box was installed on a step on the airplane’s left main landing gear assembly spring leg just before the
flight. The pilot and the lead jumper reported that, after departure and as the airplane arrived at the
planned jump area and altitude, the skydivers were given the go-ahead to jump, and one of the jumper’s
activated the sparklers in the pyrotechnic box. Shortly thereafter, they heard an explosion and then saw
damage to the bottom of the left wing with fuel pouring out of it. The left wing became engulfed in
flames, and the skydivers successfully jumped out of the airplane. The pilot shut off the fuel and
performed a slip maneuver in an attempt to extinguish the fire to no avail. After realizing that the
airplane would not be able to reach the nearest airport, he tried to aim the airplane toward a field and
then jumped out of the airplane. The airplane subsequently impacted a house, and most of the airplane
and the house’s interior were consumed by fire.
The pilot reported that this was his third skydiving flight of the day and he performed a back taxi on the
runway for takeoff. He further reported that as he rotated the airplane for takeoff, he heard a “steady”
stall warning horn, the flight controls felt mushy, and the airplane would not climb. The pilot reported
that he aborted the takeoff and applied max braking and reverse thrust, but the airplane overran the
runway remaining. Subsequently, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane collided with a fence.
The private pilot reported that the accident flight was the second skydiving drop flight of the day. The
takeoff and initial climb were normal; however, between 900 and 1,000 ft above ground level, the
engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a field, resulting in
substantial damage to the airplane. About 5 gallons of fuel was removed from the airplane at the
accident site before transport. During a detailed examination, flight control cable continuity was
established from the cockpit to all control surfaces. The fuel selector valve was found between the right
tank and off position. The valve functioned normally when rotated by hand. Although the fuel selector
valve was found in between the “off” and right tank positions after the accident, it could not be
determined if the valve was in that position during the flight. The fuel strainer showed a small amount of
fuel present. The fuel was tested and the results were negative for water. There was a significant amount
of debris observed in the fuel strainer and the strainer bowl. The debris was consistent with caulking and
rust particles. The airplane had usable fuel onboard during the accident flight and the engine ran
smoothly during the day’s previous flight. Whether the debris found in the fuel filter bowl contributed to
the loss of power could not be determined.
Before the accident flight, the commercial pilot had conducted three flights, during which parachutists
were successfully dropped. After each flight, he returned the empty airplane to a dry grass airstrip (1,950
ft long) and conducted full-stop landings. Because the temperature was over 90° with high humidity, the
pilot requested that his manifests allow only up to 14 parachutists and a longer time between shutdowns
to ensure sufficient time for adequate engine cooling before the next flight. The pilot reported that popup
rain showers had been passing north and south of his base airport throughout the morning but that
they never came closer than 10 to 15 miles.
The commercial pilot reported that, after dropping off skydivers, he made a rapid spiraling descent back
to the airport. The pilot added that, because the wind had changed such that it resulted in a tailwind, he
initiated a go-around during the landing approach; however, when he advanced the throttle, the engine
initially surged and then lost power. The pilot made a forced landing in a corn field near the end of the