National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report
Date & Time:
03/08/2014, 1104 EST
Loss of control in flight
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Personal
The pilot reported that the airplane was on final approach for runway 32 about 15 feet above the ground when he observed a parachutist “drop down in front of” him. He maneuvered to avoid the parachutist; however, the airplane’s right wing collided with the parachute’s suspension lines. The airplane crashed nose-first into the ground, and the parachutist was thrown to the ground. The parachutist reported that he was maneuvering to land at the drop zone and was crossing the approach end of runway 32 about 75 feet above the ground when he first observed the airplane “coming at” him. The pilot was a resident of the fly-in community, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport/Facility Directory noted that parachuting operations were conducted in the vicinity of the airport. Although the airplane had been established in the traffic pattern and the parachutist had the opportunity to observe aircraft operations as he descended, it is apparent that the pilot and the parachutist were unaware of each other’s presence until just before the collision. FAA Advisory Circular 90-66A, paragraph 9e, states, "Pilots and parachutists should both be aware of the limited flight performance of parachutes and take steps to avoid any potential conflicts between aircraft and parachute operations." Thus, both the pilot and the parachutist were responsible for being aware of each other’s presence and avoiding each other.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the pilot and the parachutist to see and avoid each other, which resulted in the airplane’s wing colliding with the parachute’s suspension lines.
Use of policy/procedure - Pilot
Use of policy/procedure - Other/unknown
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)
Monitoring environment - Other/unknown (Cause)
On March 8, 2014, about 1104 eastern standard time (EST), a Cessna 170B, N211R, collided with the ground following an in-flight collision with a parachutist and parachute at South Lakeland Airport (X49), Mulberry, Florida. The private pilot and the parachutist received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated about 1045.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was in the local traffic pattern and was performing a full stop landing. While on short final, the airplane struck the lines of the parachute as the parachutist was descending. The airplane pitched up, then down and impacted the turf runway in a nose down attitude. There was no fire. The pilot and the parachutist were taken to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries.
The pilot of the airplane that struck the parachutist reported the following. He was on final approach for runway 32 and was about 15 feet above the ground when "a parachutist dropped down in front of me and was a going to land in the center of the approach end of the runway." He immediately climbed to avoid the parachutist and the parachute rigging caught his wing. He crashed nose first into the ground.
The parachutist reported that he was part of a group of parachutists jumping on the day of the accident. It was a "normal day" and after preparing his gear, the flight departed X49 and climbed to jump altitude. He was about the middle of a group of 5 to 7 parachutists jumping from the airplane. After deploying his parachute, he maneuvered to parallel the runway. He was watching for another parachutist at about the same altitude. He initiated a left turn on approach to eventually land into the wind. Winds were light at 3 to 5 knots. His approach path crossed the approach end of runway 32. Suddenly he observed the airplane "coming at me." He was about 75 feet AGL when he first observed the airplane. The airplane's wing contacted his parachute and he landed and the airplane crashed.
Two witnesses reported that the parachutist's glide path crossed the approach end of runway 32. One of these witnesses reported that the right wing caught the parachute's suspension lines, causing the airplane to crash and the parachutist to be thrown to the ground. The airplane crashed in a nose-first attitude. Also, one witness reported that the pilot was performing his third touch-and-go landing of the flight.
The pilot, age 87, did not possess a current FAA medical certificate. His most recent medical certificate was a third class certificate issued on February 8, 2010. He also could not provide evidence of a current flight review as required by 14 CFR Part 61.56. He was a resident of the fly-in community where the accident occurred.
FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 90-66A, paragraph 9e, addresses the subject of parachute operations at airports without operating control towers: "When a drop zone has been established on an airport, parachutists are expected to land within the drop zone. At airports that have not established drop zones, parachutists should avoid landing on runways, taxiways, aprons, and their associated safety areas. Pilots and parachutists should both be aware of the limited flight performance of parachutes and take steps to avoid any potential conflicts between aircraft and parachute operations."
14 CFR Part 105 addresses parachute operations. Section 105.5 (General), states: "No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from an aircraft, if that operation creates a hazard to air traffic or to persons or property on the surface.
The FAA Airport/Facility Directory, current at the time of the accident, noted under airport remarks, "Parachute jumping and ultralight activity invof arpt."
History of Flight
Approach-VFR pattern final
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present:
Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
4600 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3300 hours (Total, this make and model), 4600 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Year of Manufacture:
Landing Gear Type:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
Installed, not activated
TREMBLEY SHARON L
TREMBLEY SHARON L
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
LAL, 141 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
2 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Scattered / 2400 ft agl
3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
30.19 inches Hg
16°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Mulberry, FL (X49)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Mulberry, FL (X49)
Type of Clearance:
Type of Airspace:
South Lakeland (X49)
Runway Surface Type:
Runway Surface Condition:
3115 ft / 100 ft
Full Stop; Traffic Pattern
Wreckage and Impact Information
27.929444, -82.040278 (est)
Investigator In Charge (IIC):
Ralph E Hicks
Additional Participating Persons: