According to the skydiving pilot’s report, he leveled the Cessna 182 about 11,000 feet and established a speed of 80 mph with 10° of flaps extended.
When the last skydiver exited the airplane, its nose pitched up. The pilot pushed forwarded on the control wheel and added full engine power.
He experienced “difficulties” in pushing the control wheel forward and thought a parachute caused the control issue.
He subsequently used full nose down trim to assist his control of the airplane.
A witness in a chase airplane confirmed the bent right horizontal stabilizer.
The pilot assessed the deteriorating flight control situation. He decided to jump out of the airplane over farmland near Valmeyer, Ill., and use his emergency parachute there.
The pilot observed the airplane spiral down as he descended under his parachute.
A skydiver reported there were no mechanical malfunctions up to the time he exited and the last skydiver confirmed that his reserve canopy had deployed prematurely as he was leaving the step.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the inadvertent deployment of the skydiver’s drogue chute when he exited the airplane, resulting in it contacting and damaging the horizontal stabilizer.
NTSB Identification: CEN14CA289
This June 2014 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.