This April 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna P206. Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Serious. Location: Mount Vernon, Mo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The airplane was being used for skydiving flights. The surviving skydivers said that as the airplane was climbing to the jump altitude of 10,500 feet AGL, the stall warning horn sounded intermittently several times. The skydivers paid no particular attention to it because they had heard it on previous flights. When the airplane reached the jump altitude, the pilot signaled for one of the parachutists to open the door. When she did, she told the pilot that the airplane had overshot the drop zone by approximately one mile. As the pilot started a right turn back towards the drop zone, the stall warning horn sounded again, then the airplane rolled to the right and entered a spin. The skydivers became disoriented and nauseated. Four skydivers managed to bail out safely, but one of them broke her right leg when she struck the right horizontal stabilizer after exiting the airplane. The reserve parachute on the fifth skydiver deployed and became entangled around the tail of the airplane. She sustained fatal injuries. The sixth skydiver was unable to exit the airplane and was found inside, fatally injured. The pilot was seriously injured.
Ground witnesses reported hearing the engine RPMs decrease, then saw the airplane spinning. Somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 feet AGL, the airplane leveled out for a few seconds and witnesses saw a parachute wrapped around the tail. The airplane then spun or dove to the ground. Downloaded data from the onboard GPS and Automated Activation Devices worn by three of the skydivers corroborated these accounts.
During the investigation the FAA determined that neither the engine or propeller were certificated for the Cessna P206. In addition, several airworthiness directives had not been complied with and required inspections and checks for the pitot-static system, transponder and Emergency Locator Transmitter had not been done.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, resulting in an inadvertent stall/spin. A contributing factor were the entanglement of the parachute in the elevator control system, reducing the pilot’s ability to regain control.
For more information: NTSB.gov