The parachute jump flight’s airplane was at 3,700 feet MSL when the pilot cancelled the operation with the FAA approach controller without explanation. Witnesses observed the airplane trailing white and black smoke. One witness said he saw the airplane trailing black smoke with its engine making a banging sound. Three witnesses at the accident airport said the airplane had smoke and flames coming from the airplane’s cowl and along the windshield as it approached the airport.
The airplane flew eight times on the same day, prior to the accident flight, taking skydivers aloft and releasing them. According to the airplane’s log, the airplane was refueled 2 flights prior to the accident flight with 20 gallons of fuel. According to the owner, this was to keep the airplane within the center of gravity limits.
Witnesses reported that immediately after the airplane took off, it went into a left turn, and that its nose then dropped and it impacted the ground at a steep angle. No evidence of preimpact conditions interfering with normal operation was found during on-site examination or in follow-up examinations of the airplane’s engine, propeller, and carburetor.
A passenger-parachutist stated she had exited the cabin and was on the jump platform preparing to jump from about 3,500 feet when the left wing and nose dropped and the aircraft entered a spin to the left. After an unknown number of revolutions she jumped from the aircraft and deployed her chute
The pilot stated that after climbing to 10,000′ msl on a skydiving flight, the occupants began preparations for the fourth and final parachute jump of the day. The first parachutist (skydiver) of three was standing on the right wing strut preparing to jump, when his main parachute (that he had packed himself) deployed inadvertently.
The pilot was asked by the airport manager to fly a parachute jump flight in a cessna 172. The manager suggested that the pilot make a soft field takeoff & climb straight out to gain altitude. Witnesses reported the takeoff and initial climb appeared normal, but at about 200′ agl, the airplane leveled off, then descended about 50′ and continued forward for a moment
A piper pa-28, n3011f, was in vfr cruise flight heading eastbound at about 5700′ msl, as a cessna 210 (parachute jump plane) had just completed a clearing turn to a westbound heading, into the sun, at 7300′ msl. A parachutist jumped from the jump plane & struck the vertical stabilizer of the pa-28 after a few seconds of free fall. Control of the pa-28 was lost, & it crashed in an uncontrolled descent.
The passengers(parachutists) reported that after the airplane became airborne they heard ‘backfiring’, a ‘bang’ and ‘….Saw white smoke…’ the jumpmaster reported that the engine quit after the airplane turned downwind. The airplane continued to lose altitude on downwind and during the turn to the runway. It crossed the approach end of the runway at a 45-deg angle and dragged a wing on the runway, coming to rest next to the runway.
Opening act was for 3 jumpers to exit from jump-plane (j/p) at 3500′ agl; 2 jumpers were to join at 2000′ to display flag, while 3rd jumper was to circle above. N90bc & n31485 were to circle jumpers in opposite directions. N90bc was to circle clockwise, outside turn radius of n31485, which would circle counterclockwise. When 2 of 3 jumpers exited from j/a, pilot of n31485 banked left into spiral, apparently unaware of 3rd jumper.
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.
The flight was in level cruise and 3 of the 4 jumpers were positioned on the step ready to jump. The reserve chute on one of the jumpers accidently deployed and was sucked forward and over the right wing leading edge. The jumper was pulled forward and over the wing, and in the process, hit his head on the wing leading edge and substantially damaged the internal wing structure. As the jumper’s chute deployed over the wing, the aircraft was rolled inverted. The other jumpers jumped and parachuted to the ground safely.
The plts of 2 cessna 182 acft took off from rwy 10 in formation. One of these, n6384a, had 4 skydivers aboard. After takeoff, the plt of n6384a discontinued formation flt & depd to the se, while the otr cessna depd ne. At about the same time, a piper pa-28, n4676r, was apchg the arpt with a dual student & instructor (cfi) aboard. Subsequently, the 2 acft converged & collided about 1-1/2 mi se of the arpt. No known witness saw the collision; the altitude & headings of the acft were not verified. During impact, the 2 acft became entangled & they impacted the ground at the same location. An investigation revealed evidence that the high wing cessna & the low wing pa-28 converged laterally, while on flt paths that angled toward each other.
The engine lost power as the pilot made a power reduction shortly after takeoff. During a forced landing in a christmas tree crop, the airplane stalled about 90 ft agl. Investigation revealed that the muffler cones were missing. Witnesses and the pilot stated that the temperature was 40 deg f and the dew point aprx 36 deg. That combination is within the range favorable to induction system icing.
The pilot of the cessna 182 was descending in a right turn after dropping parachute jumpers at 4500 ft msl. As he descended below 1500 ft msl, his aircraft collided with a beech a36. The a36 had departed from the queen city airport and was in the traffic pattern to land at the airport when the collision occurred. The cessna crashed in a paved parking lot of a shopping center and the beech crashed into a new car dealership’s parking lot. Both aircraft were destroyed along with several cars in the dealership’s lot.
After dropping skydivers the pilot entered a descent to return to the airport for another load of jumpers. He was receiving radar advisories during the drop from a tracon controller. As the aircraft descended below 4,000 feet msl the controller terminated the radar advisory service. Immediately after the controller discontinued the service he asked the pilot to check for a stuck microphone switch. The aircraft continued its descent and collided with a camping trailer and building under construction in an extreme nose low attitude. The elevator trim was found in the full nose down position. No other malfunctions were found.
The non-instrument rated plt was on a flt to psn the acft for sky diving activities. As he was transiting the albany arpt radar svc area at 5500′, radio and radar ctc were lost. Subsequently, the acft crashed in a steep dive and was demolished by impact. Psnl in the area rprtd an ovc cond and estd the vis was at least 1 mi. Abt 12 mi ese, the 0750 albany wx was in part: 1200′ sct, 6000′ bkn. Vis 2 mi with fog. Low clouds at the rprtg stn had lifted by the time of the acdnt.
Both acft were operating in vfr conditions modified by slight haze, high overcast and low sun angle near airport. N6161m was performing lazy eight maneuvers in a normal practice area two miles east of airport; n8267q was in clockwise orbital descent for landing following a parachute jump plane. Radar data and witness informtion show that on east side of airport, n8267q deviated from orbit and proceeded southeast as n6161m completed north end of figure eight in right turn away from airport and proceeded south. Acft converged at about 30 degree closing angle with n6161m climbing and n8267q descending and collided at about 2500 ft agl.
Acft crashed immediately after takeoff on a flt to discharge jumpers over a drop zone located on the arpt. Witnesses stated that shortly after liftoff the acft entered a steep left bank estimated between 45 and 70 degs. After about 120 degs of turn the acft stalled and impacted the ground in about an 80 deg nose down attitude, with the left wing leading. Alt at the time the maneuver was attempted was aprx 125′ agl. Winds at the time of the accident were down the departure rwy at 10 kts gusting to 18 kts. One witness estimated the winds at 20 kts gusting to 25 kts. Research indicated that the acfts stall speed would have increased btw 40 and 100 percent during the turn depending on bank angle. The plt had a total of 3 hrs in this make and model of acft.
As the plt & 16 jumpers deptd on a skydiving flt, the eng lost pwr at aprx 300′ agl. The acft then banked steeply left, spiraled in a steep nose dwn attitude & crashed. An exam revealed fuel in the tanks was contaminated with wtr & foreign material with the appearance of brown algae. Milky fluid (aprx 65% jet fuel & 34% wtr) was fnd in the eng fuel control, as well as iron contaminants. Dark stringy material was fnd in the fuel filters. The acft had been refueled fm 55 gal drums which contained contaminated fuel. The drums were stored upright & rain water could leak thru the filler caps. N551cc had a history of fuel contamination which on occasions caused the fuel bypass indicator to display. Rprtdly, the stall warning circuit brkr had been disengaged on other occasions, so as not to startle the jumpers; however, due to dmg, its preimpact psn could not be verified. Acft was estd to be 370 lbs ovr its max wt lmt & 1′ fwd of the cg lmt. The9 pax seats had been rmvd to haul up to 18 jumpers. Pax seat belts were not used. Lack of faa surveillance was noted.
After dropping the parachutist, the acft was observed to fly eastward over the dz, make a left 180 turn, line up on the parked van on an easterly heading and descend to a low altiude. Witnesses estimated the altitude at from 10 t0 30 ft agl. The van was parked on a ridge across the flt path. The acft made a low alt-high speed run toward the van. Just before striking the van with the ldg gear, the acft seemed to duck under a low power line in its path.
The acft was on a parachute jumping mission. After climbing to 9000 ft msl, 4 sky divers jumped out & the plt began a descent back to the arpt. The acft was seen level at aprx 500 ft agl & in the aprx position for a downwind leg for a left pattern for runway 36. About 1/2 mi north of the normal turn point for the base leg, the acft began a steep descending left turn. Witnesses described a bank angle of 45 to 75 deg & a nose down attitude of 20 to 30 deg. One of the witnesses reported that the bank and descent angles then began to decrease, but at impact, the nose was still low & the bank angle was about 20 deg. Observers saw no indication of plt control movement before impact. An exam of the wreckage revealed no evidence of an inflt failure/malfunction. The plt’s wife said that onoccasions, he had experienced severe headaches, but never to an alarming point. She reported that he took only asprin for the headaches. Pathological & toxicological exams reflected no evidence of a preimpact incapactiating problem.
Witnesses observed the takeoff roll as being unusually long. The acft never climbed much above 100-200 ft agl, & struck trees 1/2 mi off the end of the rwy. The flaps were observed up during takeoff. Normal takeoff flap setting used by the club for carrying jumpers is 10 deg. The acft was 166 pounds over max gross weight & the cg was beyond the aft limit. The density altitude was approximately 2,000 ft. The plt had never flown a c-182 or a constant speed propeller equipped acft prior to his checkout with the parachute club the week before the accident. The day of the accident was the first time he had carried any jumpers. The plt had agreed to fly for the club for no compensation other than to build flt time.