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Date:Sunday 29 April 2001
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208 Caravan I
Operator:A. McVinish
Registration: VH-MMV
MSN: 20800003
First flight: 1985
Total airframe hrs:8576
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 11
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 12
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:4 km (2.5 mls) NW of Nagambie, VIC (   Australia)
Phase: Maneuvering (MNV)
Departure airport:Ballieston East, VIC, Australia
Destination airport:Ballieston East, VIC, Australia
The Cessna Caravan was carrying 11 skydivers and climbed to FL140. As the first team of four exited the aircraft, the middle parachutist’s reserve parachute’s pilot chute deployed. Due to the bent over position of that parachutist, the action of the ejector spring in the pilot chute pushed the chute upwards and over the horizontal stabiliser of the aircraft, pulling the reserve canopy with it. The parachutist passed below the horizontal stabiliser resulting in the reserve parachute risers and lines tangling around the left elevator and horizontal stabiliser. Eleven seconds later, the empennage separated from the aircraft and the left elevator and the parachutist separated from the empennage. The aircraft then entered a steep, nose-down spiral descent. The pilot instructed the remaining parachutists to abandon the aircraft; the last one left the aircraft at an altitude of 9,000 feet. The pilot transmitted a mayday call, shutdown the engine and left his seat. On reaching the rear of the cabin, he found that the roller blind had closed, preventing him from leaving the aircraft. After several attempts, the pilot raised the blind sufficiently to allow him to exit the aircraft, and at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet agl, he deployed his parachute and landed safely.

Probable Cause:

"1. The parachutist’s reserve parachute deployed prematurely, probably as a result of the parachute container coming into contact with the aircraft doorframe/handrail.
2. The reserve parachute risers and lines tangled around the horizontal stabiliser and elevator.
3. The reserve canopy partially filled, applying to the aircraft empennage a load that exceeded its design limits.
4. The empennage separated from the aircraft and the elevator separated from the empennage, releasing the parachutist and sending the aircraft out of control."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 years
Accident number: ATSB report 200101903
Download report: Final report
Language: English

Collision with person or animal on the ground
Loss of control

» Richard Barrett

Follow-up / safety actions
Following the accident, the Australian Parachute Federation (APF) highlighted the dangers inherent in containers contacting parts of aircraft to her members and also issued a warning poster to personnel at drop zones and instructors.
The designer of the roller blind has amended the design to include a device to lock the blind in the open position, and a placard warning that the blind must be locked open during parachuting.

ATSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Cessna 208

  • 2800+ built
  • 74th loss
  • 48th fatal accident
  • 27th worst accident (at the time)
  • 87th worst accident (currently)
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  • 79th worst accident (at the time)
  • 84th worst accident (currently)
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