NTSB Identification: ERA09LA344
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 13, 2009 in Orange, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2009
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-6 TWIN, registration: N204EH
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot stated that after the 20 skydivers left the airplane, he “descended and entered at a 45-degree angle for the downwind leg for landing on runway 08.” Once on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the pilot stated that the “windshield began fogging up.” The pilot decided to make a 360-degree turn to the right while he wiped the window with a rag. The pilot further stated that the last altitude he remembered being at was 2,000 feet mean sea level. Many of the skydivers had landed in a predetermined landing area, which was a field 0.25 nautical miles northwest of the runway. They reported that the airplane was conducting a “low-pass” about 30 feet above the ground when its propeller struck a descending skydiver’s parachute. The skydiver was seriously injured when he fell approximately 20 feet and struck the ground, but the airplane landed without incident. A few of the skydivers stated that the jump was a memorial exercise to release the ashes of a friend that recently died. They added that the airplane's low pass was part of the memorial exercise. The winds recorded at the airport about the time of the accident were calm. The pilot did not report any mechanical anomalies with the airplane.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper decision to perform a low-level maneuver over a populated skydive landing area and his inadequate visual lookout. Full narrative available
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