Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pilot recovers after parachuting from burning plane: Cessna 182P Skylane, P & T Aerial Services LLC, N20844; accident occurred September 17, 2016 near Chandler Municipal Airport (KCHD), Maricopa County, Arizona

Ryan Kilgore

The pilot of a Cessna 182P Skylane that crashed into a Gilbert home is recovering at the Maricopa Medical Center from second- and third-degree burns. 

Ryan Kilgore, 31, was flying four skydivers to the Constitution Fair on Sept. 17. A wing of the plane caught fire and the skydivers jumped, essentially on schedule, while the plane flew away from the Gilbert Civic Center.

Kilgore parachuted out of the plane into a field about a half mile from the Civic Center as the plane crashed into a house. Two people were inside the home when the plane hit.

The home was destroyed by the crash and the subsequent fire, Gilbert police Sgt. Jesse Sanger said. But homeowners Peter and Sharon Lebeau were not injured.

In a statement to the media, the Lebeaus said they and their dogs got out of their home safely. They expressed gratitude that no one else was injured in the incident.

In a statement released Tuesday, Kilgore’s parents Jan and Bill Kilgore of Spokane, Washington, said, “We feel blessed that Ryan’s skill as a pilot and God’s loving protection were with all involved. We are very sorry for the family that lost their beautiful home and we are so glad that no one else was injured and that no lives were lost.”

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the scene about two hours after the 7:20 p.m. crash, Sanger said. The NTSB investigates all plane crashes.

“Lots of folks in the area have found bits and pieces of the plane in their yards,” Sanger said, “and have been calling us about them.”

Police officers have retrieved those pieces and turned them over to the NTSB. Officers are also patrolling the street, making sure the house is secure.

“We’ll be there for scene security as long as needed,” Sanger said.

The Lebeaus’ home is about a half mile from where the Constitution Fair was taking place, Sanger said, and firefighters were at that event. Some firefighters saw the explosion caused by the crash and headed to the house immediately, he said.

Fire department spokesman Gary Hildebrandt said that when firefighters arrived the house was burning and they could see the plane sticking out from the back of the house.

The Constitution Fair has featured night-time parachuters, members of the Arizona Skyhawks, for several years.

“They wear pyrotechnics or flares or something” that light up so people can see them falling, Sanger said.

The Constitution Fair is a private event, not a town of Gilbert-sponsored activity, Sanger said.

Kilgore, of Tempe, has been a pilot for a decade, his parents said.

According to FAA records, Kilgore’s commercial pilot’s certification was last renewed on May 20. He is rated by the FAA as a commercial pilot with private pilot privileges. The FAA renewed Kilgore’s second-class medical license on Oct. 20, 2015.

The plane he was flying was manufactured in 1972. It’s owned by P&T Aerial Services of Chandler.

The Constitution Fair continued after the crash, Sanger said, ending with fireworks.

“They still set off fireworks and the first couple scared people,” he said.

Kevin and Catharina Wilhelmsen, neighbors of the Lebeaus, set up a Go Fund Me page to assist the couple. As of Friday, $3,500 had been donated.

Likewise, Colton Kilgore, the pilot’s brother, set up a Go Fund Me page. On Friday, a total of $17,995 had been donated to him.



FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 17, 2016 in Gilbert, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N20844
Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 17, 2016, about 1918 Mountain standard time, a Cessna 182P, N20844, was destroyed when it impacted a residential structure, following a reported inflight fire near Gilbert, Arizona. The airplane was registered to and operated by P & T Aerial Services LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the 4 passengers sustained minor injuries. One of the two occupants of the house sustained a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight. The local flight departed Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD) Chandler, Arizona, at an unknown time.

The airplane was participating in the Gilbert's annual Constitution Fair, which involved an aerial pyro technic display and four skydivers parachuting into a predetermined drop zone about 1 mile northwest from the accident site. According to one of the skydivers, as the airplane arrived at the planned jump area and altitude, about 5,000 feet, mean sea level, he heard a loud noise and noticed damage to the airplane's left wing. Shortly thereafter, the skydivers successfully jumped out of the airplane as its left wing became engulfed with flames. The pilot radioed a distress call and then egressed out of the airplane. The airplane subsequently impacted in a residential area about 4 miles from the north of CHD.

Examination of the accident site by a National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane struck through the house's roof and a post impact fire consumed a majority of the airplane and the interior of the house. 

The airplane wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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