National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

Mulberry, FL

Accident Number:

ERA14LA146

Date & Time:

03/08/2014, 1104 EST

Registration:

N211R

Aircraft:

CESSNA 170B

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Loss of control in flight

Injuries:

2 Minor

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

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.

 

Probable Cause and Findings

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.

 

Findings

Personnel issues

Use of policy/procedure - Pilot

Use of policy/procedure - Other/unknown

Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)

Monitoring environment - Other/unknown (Cause)

Factual Information

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)

Uncontrolled descent

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

87

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

02/08/2010

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

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

Aircraft Make:

CESSNA

Registration:

N211R

Model/Series:

170B

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

20672

Landing Gear Type:

Tailwheel

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

11/09/2013, Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

1451 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

3286 Hours

Engine Manufacturer:

CONT MOTOR

ELT:

Installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

C145 SERIES

Registered Owner:

TREMBLEY SHARON L

Rated Power:

145 hp

Operator:

TREMBLEY SHARON L

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

LAL, 141 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

2 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1050 EST

Direction from Accident Site:

40°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 2400 ft agl

Visibility

15 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

3 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/ None

Wind Direction:

60°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/ N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.19 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

16°C / 8°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Mulberry, FL (X49)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

Mulberry, FL (X49)

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

1045 EST

Type of Airspace:

 

 

Airport Information

Airport:

South Lakeland (X49)

Runway Surface Type:

Grass/turf

Airport Elevation:

110 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Dry

Runway Used:

32

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

3115 ft / 100 ft

VFR Approach/Landing:

Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Minor

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

1 Minor

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

2 Minor

Latitude, Longitude:

27.929444, -82.040278 (est)

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Ralph E Hicks

Report Date:

12/15/2014

Additional Participating Persons:

 

Publish Date:

12/15/2014

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=88888