On August 18, 2001, approximately 1330 central daylight time, a Cessna 182A single-engine airplane, N4795D, registered to a private individual and operated by Sky Dive Temple, of Killeen, Texas, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while descending near Salado, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 air drop flight. The local flight originated approximately 1100 from the Salado Airport.

The pilot reported to the operator, that following a climb to 12,000 feet msl to drop 4 parachutists, he started his descent back to the airport for another flight. While descending through 10,000 feet, the engine lost power and he switched fuel tanks. The engine continued to operate normally until around 4,000 feet when it lost power again. The pilot elected to "dead-stick" the airplane back to the airport. According to the operator, the airplane was on final approach when witnesses observed that it "dove abruptly into the ground, apparently due to stall."

The owner of the sky dive operation reported that airplane had been fueled with a total of 40 gallons of fuel prior to the flight. The pilot was to fly 3 drops before the next refueling. The owner added that the pilot had received initial training on the accident airplane and was aware that the fuel burn was 18 gph for this type of operation and he was also aware that the normal procedure was to fly 3 drops between refueling.

The owner added that the pilot lost track of the number of drops he had flown, and ended up flying a fourth drop. According to the aircraft tachometer, the airplane had flown a total of 2 hours and 17 minutes since it was last refueled. The owner of the airplane examined the wreckage at the accident site prior to the arrival of the FAA inspector.

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector who traveled to the accident site revealed that the wreckage appeared to have been moved after the accident. Fuel odor was present, but the amount onboard could not be determined. The propeller assembly was damaged, the nose gear assembly had separated from the airframe, the engine broke off its mounts, and the engine firewall sustained structural damage.

This report was modified on December 1, 2005.

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