NTSB Identification: ERA10LA389
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 01, 2010 in Newfane, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA A185F, registration: N4976E
Injuries: 1 Fatal,5 Minor.

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 airplane was departing for a skydiving flight. During rotation, the jump door opened, which was located on the right side of the airplane. The pilot said that he was not concerned with the door, which would not have critically impacted the airplane's performance; however, an experienced parachutist attempted to secure the door to the point where he was partially outside of the airplane. The pilot attempted to stop the parachutist and became distracted, which resulted in the airplane veering left toward trees while flying at a low airspeed. The airplane subsequently struck a stand of trees and impacted the ground. The airplane came to rest inverted in a wooded area, with the roof of the cabin and empennage separated. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions and the pilot reported that the airplane performed as expected, without any mechanical issues. One of the occupants noted that the jump door was checked prior to takeoff and appeared to be secured. The jump door separated during the accident and was found in the latched position. The jump door and surrounding structure were distorted due to impact damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control due to his diverted attention, which resulted in a collision with trees during the initial climb after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the passenger's attempt to secure the jump door after it opened during takeoff.

Full narrative available

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