Thursday, January 07, 2021

Beechcraft A90 King Air, N256TA: Fatal accident occurred June 21, 2019 near Dillingham Airfield (PHDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration AVP-100; Washington, District of Columbia
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Ottawa, FN
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Accident Report Detail:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Mokuleia, HI 
Accident Number: WPR19MA177
Date & Time: 06/21/2019, 1822 HST
Registration: N256TA
Aircraft: Beech 65A90
Injuries: 11 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Skydiving 

Executive Summary

On June 21, 2019, about 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech King Air 65-A90 airplane, N256TA, impacted terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The pilot and 10 passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC and was operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a local parachute jump (skydiving) flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s aggressive takeoff maneuver, which resulted in an accelerated stall and subsequent loss of control at an altitude that was too low for recovery. Contributing to the accident were (1) the operation of the airplane near its aft center of gravity limit and the pilot’s lack of training and experience with the handling qualities of the airplane in this flight regime; (2) the failure of Oahu Parachute Center and its contract mechanic to maintain the airplane in an airworthy condition and to detect and repair the airplane’s twisted left wing, which reduced the airplane’s stall margin; and (3) the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) insufficient regulatory framework for overseeing parachute jump operations. Contributing to the pilot’s training deficiencies was the FAA’s lack of awareness that the pilot’s flight instructor was providing substandard training.

On June 21, 2019, at 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech 65-A90, N256TA, collided with terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and ten passengers sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC, and was being operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local sky-diving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the owner of OPC, the accident flight was the fourth of five parachute jump flights scheduled for that day. Two flights took place between 0900 and 0930 and the third departed about 1730 on the first of what OPC called, "sunset" flights. The occupants on the accident flight included the pilot, three tandem parachute instructors and their three customers, and two camera operators; two solo jumpers decided to join the accident flight at the last minute.

The passengers were loaded onto the airplane while it was on the taxiway next to the OPC facility on the southeast side of the airport. A parachute instructor at OPC observed the boarding process and watched as the airplane taxied west to the departure end of runway 8. He could hear the engines during the initial ground roll and stated that the sound was normal, consistent with the engines operating at high power. When the airplane came into his view as it headed toward him, it was at an altitude of between 150 and 200 ft above ground level and appeared to be turning. He could see its belly, with the top of the cabin facing the ocean to the north. The airplane then struck the ground in a nose-down attitude, and a fireball erupted.

The final second of the accident sequence was captured in the top left frame of a surveillance video camera located at the southeast corner of the airport. Preliminary review of the video data revealed that just before impact the airplane was in an inverted 45° nose-down attitude.

Runway 8/26 at Dillingham Airfield is a 9,007-ft-long by 75-ft-wide asphalt runway, with displaced thresholds of 1,993 ft and 1,995 ft, respectively. A parachute landing area was located beyond the departure end of runway 8, and the standard takeoff procedure required a left turn over the adjacent beach to avoid that landing zone. The displaced threshold areas had been designated for sailplane and towplane use, with powered aircraft advised to maintain close base leg turns to assure separation.

The airplane came to rest inverted on a heading of about 011° magnetic, 500 ft north of the runway centerline, and 5,550 ft beyond the runway 8 numbers, where the takeoff roll began. The debris field was confined to a 75-ft-wide area just inside the airport perimeter fence. The cabin, tail section, and inboard wings were largely consumed by fire, and both wings outboard of the engine nacelle sustained leading edge crush damage and thermal exposure. Both engines came to rest in the center of the debris field, and fragments of the vertical and both horizontal stabilizers were located within the surrounding area.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N256TA
Model/Series: 65A90
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Oahu Parachute Center
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PHHI, 840 ft msl
Observation Time: 0456 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mokuleia, HI (HDH)
Destination: Mokuleia, HI (HDH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 10 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 11 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 21.580556, -158.188333

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The NTSB released a report into their findings of a deadly 2019 plane crash on Oahu’s North shore.

The June 21 crash of a skydiving plane operated by the Oahu Parachute Center killed the pilot and 10 passengers in a fiery wreck.

NTSB investigators found that the pilot’s “aggressive takeoff maneuver” was the probable cause of the Beech King Air 65-A90 airplane slamming to the ground near the fence of Dillingham Airfield shortly after takeoff.

The report says the maneuver “resulted in an accelerated stall and subsequent loss of control at an altitude that was too low for recovery.”

Among the victims of the crash were both local aviation enthusiasts, and visitors from out-of-state.

Other contributing factors of the crash included the pilot’s lack of training and experience with the handling qualities of the airplane, the NTSB said.

Maintenance was also overlooked, according to the investigation. Investigators said mechanics failed to “detect and repair the airplane’s twisted left wing, which reduced the airplane’s stall margin.”

NTSB officials also highlight what they consider to be insufficient regulations by the FAA over parachute jump operations. This led to training deficiencies for the pilot, and the FAA’s lack of awareness into substandard training.

The NTSB’s full report will be published in the coming weeks.


Federal safety investigators said today that the pilot of a skydiving plane that crashed in 2019 on the North Shore, killing all 11 people on board, had not received training to become a competent pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in response to these findings, called on the Federal Aviation Administration to better monitor the effectiveness of flight instructors.

The plane banked sharply before plunging to the ground shortly after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield on June 21, 2019. Pilot Jerome Renck and his 10 passengers were killed in the deadliest civil aviation accident in the U.S. since 2011.

Renck had failed three initial flight tests in his attempt to obtain a pilot certificate, instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate, the NTSB said. The pass rate for other students taught by the same instructor was just 59% over a two-year period ending in April 2020. The average pass rate for students of all flight instructors is 80%, the agency said.

The board called on the FAA to develop a system to automatically alert its inspectors to flight instructors whose students’ pass rates fall below 80%

The board quoted from the FAA’s Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, which says the goal of instructors is “‘to teach each learner in such a way that he or she will be come a competent pilot.’” In Renck’s case “the flight instructor did not achieve that goal,” the NTSB said.

The FAA said in a statement it is working closely with the NTSB to investigate the crash.

“The agency takes NTSB findings and recommendations very seriously. The FAA will carefully evaluate and consider all findings and recommendations the NTSB issues as a result of this investigation,” it said.

Documents that the board released in October painted a picture of a pilot who took unnecessary risks and pushed the limits of his skills to give passengers a thrilling ride.

The plane was operated by Oahu Parachute Center, which lacked permits for skydiving flights, according to state records. The owner, George Rivera, received a permit in 2010 under a different company name for parachute repairs and rigging but not skydiving.

Renck, a French national, was the company’s only pilot at the time of the crash.

The plane had undergone repairs after a crash in 2016 in California badly damaged the tail section. In that incident, skydivers struggled to jump out as the plane went into a spinning dive.

The NTSB previously said FAA records showed that Robert Seladis, a contract mechanic who worked on the plane, had his certificate revoked in 2005 after falsifying records on two planes. He regained his certificate in 2015.

Seladis was interviewed a few days after the crash, then stopped talking to investigators, who were unable to get the plane’s logbooks from him, the NTSB said.


  1. And the finger pointing begins...targeting the flight instructor? Really? Since the accident pilot clearly passed an FAA checkride, he obviously met the standard, so instruction provided, and his skills, must have been at least adequate. In order for the "pass on first attempt" average to be 80%, obviously half the instructors must be below that number, so what if this instructor is in that half. We provide the instruction, FAA screens the result, and in this case they found the result satisfactory. Sorry passed him, it's on you. Leave the instructor alone.

  2. Uh, no. 59% pass rate sucks.

  3. Monitoring for instruction with low pass rate may be intended to find cases of questionable logged time. Files in the docket include FAA legal interpretation of this accident pilot logging King Air time toward a commercial certificate during his first few weeks of training in a Cherokee on his student pilot certificate.

  4. Mechanic hiding the logbooks...wonderful

  5. Spent some of the happiest years of my flying career in the gliders, L-19 tow planes and jump planes at HDH. The runway is bordered by one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, and there's no more luxurious way to wash away the sweat and stress of a long day of hard flying than to join the resident sea turtles in its warm, crystalline waters.
    This former army training field is one of the 'forgotten airfields of the North Shore' and its concrete revetments for the B-24s now shelter more innocent aircraft. But like all airfields with long and storied histories, not of all of its history is happy.....