Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cessna 208 Caravan I, N208KM, registered to a private individual and operated by the National Parachute Test Center Inc: Accident occurred October 14, 2016 at Marion County Airport (X35), Dunnellon, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Dunnellon, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA018
Date & Time: 10/14/2016, 1735 EDT
Registration: N208KM
Aircraft: CESSNA 208
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Simulated/training event
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 10 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Skydiving 

On October 14, 2016, about 1735 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 208, N208KM, was substantially damaged during a skydiving event over Marion County Airport (X35), Dunnellon, Florida. One of the 10 skydivers on board was fatally injured, and the commercial pilot and the other 9 skydivers were not injured. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the National Parachute Test Center, Inc., (NPTC) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a commercial skydiving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed X35 about 1700.

According to a report prepared by NPTC, in addition to the pilot, there were 8 jumpers, a jumpmaster, and a training advisor assigned to the flight. Before boarding the airplane, the training advisor, who was a skydiving instructor familiar with the airplane, instructed the jumpmaster on the procedure used to make static line jumps from the Cessna 208. Upon boarding the airplane, the jumpmaster elected not to hook up the static line of his main parachute. When questioned by the training advisor, the jumpmaster replied, "I am not going to jump, so I do not have to."

The flight departed and climbed to an altitude of 1,250 ft above ground level. According to the NPTC report, the first three skydivers exited the airplane uneventfully, and the fourth moved into position. The training advisor observed that the fourth skydiver seemed to hesitate, and the jumpmaster leaned forward toward him. As the fourth jumper exited the airplane, the training advisor noticed a flash of white and watched as the jumpmaster's reserve parachute deployed and entered the airplane's slipstream. The jumpmaster attempted to pull the parachute back into the airplane and was pulled into the door frame before being dragged out of the airplane. Observers on the ground watched as the jumpmaster descended beneath his streaming (unopened) reserve parachute to the ground. The ground observers reported that the jumpmaster made no movements, appeared to be unconscious, and did not deploy his main parachute. The pilot reported that he was able to maintain control of the airplane and land without further incident.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the cargo door frame and fuselage were buckled. Inspection of the jumpmaster's main parachute by an FAA-certificated senior parachute rigger revealed that it was intact and remained in the deployment bag. Examination of the reserve parachute revealed that the injector spring was wrapped around the suspension lines. The deployment ring, connector snap, and part of the spreader bar were located midway up the suspension lines. The jump inspection booklet located on the parachute indicated that the reserve parachute was inspected 3 days before the accident. NPTC attributed the damage to the reserve parachute to impact with the door frame as the jumpmaster was pulled from the airplane.

The FAA inspector who examined the airplane reported that the jumpmaster was using a military-style parachute with the reserve parachute positioned below the chest. According to the FAA inspector, "the reason the reserve parachute deployed is unclear at this time but since the D ring [ripcord handle] is exposed on the front of the parachute speculation is that the D ring may have accidentally caught or snagged on another jumper or something in the aircraft." According to NPTC, the accident resulted from the jumpmaster "failure to guard his Reserve Ripcord Handle" and "was compounded by [his] failure to exit the aircraft immediately" when his reserve parachute deployed. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/22/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6761 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2065 hours (Total, this make and model), 6615 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 39 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N208KM
Model/Series: 208 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 20800150
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 12
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/26/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 8000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 11336.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: P&W CANADA
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-114
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 600 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OCF, 897 ft msl
Observation Time: 1750 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 50°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 17°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 50°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Dunnellon, FL (X35)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Dunnellon, FL (X35)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1700 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Marion County Airport (X35)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 65 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 9 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 10 None
Latitude, Longitude:  29.061667, -82.376667 (est)

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