ERA09LA344
ERA09LA344

On June 13, 2009, about 1945 eastern daylight time, a Dehavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, N204EH, operated by Skydive Factory Inc., impacted a skydiver’s parachute while maneuvering near Orange County Airport (OMH), Orange, Virginia. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured and the airplane was not damaged. The skydiver was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local skydive flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from OMH at 1925.

According to the pilot, after the 20 jumpers 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 hit 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 OMH weather recorded at 1943 included calm winds, clear skies, and visibility 10 miles.

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