On April 2, 1994, about 1830 hours eastern standard time, N5868B, a Cessna 182, operated by the Thunderbird Sport Parachute Club, Inc., Versailles, Kentucky, impacted a tree during takeoff in Berea, Kentucky. The airplane was destroyed. The certificated private pilot and two passengers received minor injuries, and two other passengers were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed from the Berea-Richmond Lackey Field, a grass airstrip, and was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

According to the pilot, the airplane was loaded with four parachutists for the purpose of conducting a sport parachute jump. The pilot then taxied to the active runway and performed a "run up" with no abnormalities noted. The pilot stated that he selected 10 degrees of flaps and lined up for takeoff on runway 21. He added full power and obtained "enough airspeed for takeoff." He stated that he rotated and began to climb, but encountered an "... air pocket or low level wind shear." The airplane lost altitude, impacted a tree on the western edge of the runway, and burned.

The pilot stated that the winds were gusting and that he ". . . should have waited [until] the winds died down or reset the jump to a calmer day." The pilot also stated that there were no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

The reported wind conditions at a weather observation facility located about 25 nautical miles north of the accident site about the time of the accident were 14 knots at 240 degrees magnetic. The pilot estimated the wind conditions to be 12 knots gusting to 16 knots at 030 degrees magnetic.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector, the owner of the airplane was seated in the right front seat during the accident. He told the FAA safety inspector that the engine was producing full power and that the airplane did not have enough airspeed to take off.

According to the FAA safety inspector, no pre-impact mechanical deficiencies were found during an examination of the wreckage at the accident site.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page