NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Before departure for the positioning flight, the pilot was told that an observer/passenger would be joining him for the flight. The airplane, which was typically used in skydiving operations, had its right cabin door removed, and a fabric roll-up jump door had been installed; it was not closed during the flight. The pilot reported that the passenger sat behind him on the right side of the airplane and that he heard him attach his seatbelt. During the flight, the passenger moved forward in the cabin, which resulted in the passenger's reserve parachute inadvertently deploying and the passenger being pulled through the open jump door. The passenger hit the doorframe, and the parachute became entangled with the empennage, which resulted in a loss of airplane control and a subsequent aerodynamic stall. The parachute eventually separated from the empennage, and the pilot was able to regain control of the airplane and land it without further incident. A postaccident examination revealed that the passenger had inadvertently attached his seatbelt to the handle that released the reserve parachute. Therefore, the reserve parachute deployed when the passenger moved. The pilot did not conduct a safety briefing before the flight; however, the improper routing of the seatbelt may not have been identified even if he had conducted a safety briefing. Additionally, if the jump door had been closed, it is likely that the passenger would not have been pulled out of the airplane.