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Airvan SE-MES down near Umea in Sweden

Do the parajumpers strap in for the ride up?
Just wondering,
if it was a climb in IMC, with inadvertent stall, could that result in everyone, or enough people, being thrown forward, to take the C og G far enough forward to prevent recovery.
The result then being breakup due to overspeed?

Private strip, Essex (not mine), United Kingdom

I read a lot of accident reports of jump planes before I took a job flying one. It can happen that during a spin (especially with structural damage) the g-loads are too heavy to get out. Think about it, how strong are your legs? Most of us could leg press about twice our own weight at the fitness center… so, trying to get to the door at over two g can become impossible.
Some accidents involve accidental opening of the chute inside the cabin. When it drags along the cabin it likely gets tangled over the elevator.
Another problem is that you’re flying pretty slow during the jump run, stalls have happened before in this flight phase. The jumpers were maybe seated so that the ship was outside of the CG envelope.
Another problem sometimes is the attitude of the pilots, respectively of their organization. I just read the report of the Belgian Pilatus Porter that lost a wing during an attempted barrel roll, killing all on board. The report found that the mindset of the organization was part of the root cause, because they all knew about the hazardous attitudes of the pilot (prior incidences with aerobatics and such) and did not recognize the danger. In this case however, just after announcing the drop, this is of course not a probable cause. Except if the plane was damaged from other flights. Some dropzones have, in my opinion, unsafe procedures for the descent (Vne descents in a steep spiral and whatnot) which could easily exceed design loads.

The jumpers should use restraining belts except when necessary to get out (even if they’re installed on the floor without a seat). But it is probably more common that jumpers do not wear them, especially shortly before exiting. And the pilots often get tired of telling people, who are crazy enough to leave an airplane in flight, to wear a seatbelt for safety…

I just hope that the cause isn’t just “hazardous attitudes”, because such accidents are so predictable and avoidable. I might be a bit sensitive about this… Thing is, when I left my jump pilot job on Hawaii, I told my boss that with his equipment an accident would be likely to happen. Five months later five lives were lost. The hazardous attitudes taught in the FAA land are a real thing and often the root cause of aviation accidents.

Skydivers are typically strapped to the floor during take-off and climb.

But given the pilot had 214 hours total time and was not instrument rated, not being able to recover from a loss of control in IMC is not untypical and does not need anything special happening. With 7/8 cloud cover, it is likely that at least part of the way down was in cloud.

And in a rapid descent with high G-forces in cloud, it is not surprising that, sadly, not even one parachutist made it out.

Last Edited by Cobalt at 18 Sep 21:29
Biggin Hill

So they planned to dive in/from the clouds?
And then they were VFR in IMC consciously?
I’m just asking as it may be a practice for some adrenaline people, but it looks surprising to me.

Last Edited by greg_mp at 19 Sep 05:57
LFMD, France

This is no way a comment on this accident which I know nothing about:

Unfortunately, from the many people I have spoken to over many years who were involved in the paradropping scene, there is a large amount of swashbuckling going on in there.

It has been legal for a plain PPL to fly the plane, carrying what are clearly paying passengers (well, they are not really, ahem, quite that, because they are members of a club – even if only joined up for the day) provided he doesn’t get paid. Ask yourself how many people will fly all day, anything up to 4 flights per hour (possible in a turboprop, due to fast climb and no shock cooling problems) day after day, for absolutely nothing?

Add in the pressure of a load of passengers who have been sitting and waiting for ages and are really keen to go, and there’s you wanting to tell them they can’t go because there is cloud about.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

ArcticChiller wrote:

Some dropzones have, in my opinion, unsafe procedures for the descent (Vne descents in a steep spiral and whatnot) which could easily exceed design loads.

Like this one?


EKRK, Denmark

greg_mp wrote:

And then they were VFR in IMC consciously?

That is not known.

The aircraft was IFR equipped. The pilot had a CPL but apparently no IR.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

greg_mp wrote:

So they planned to dive in/from the clouds?
And then they were VFR in IMC consciously?

Para-droppers/glider-tugs tend to operate visually near clouds in highly contained maneuvers (e.g. specific dropping points or boxes) then steep turns/descents to pick the next guys, this applies even when pilots are instruments rated, so highly prone to loss of control when they get caught VFR in IMC, including when trying hard to remain VMC

Last Edited by Ibra at 19 Sep 11:31
ESSEX, United Kingdom

There’s one more possible issue here – fatigue. A friend of mine (CPL/IR, CFI) used to do this in a turboprop and after several hours of flying you could wipe the floor with him.

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