Thankfully, no skydivers or jump pilots died in skydiving-related aircraft accidents in the U.S. during 2017. But there is room for improvement with regard to decision making by jump pilots. Skydivers were aboard two of the aircraft that had accidents (one that occurred during takeoff and one during landing) cited in this report. As you’ll see, those accidents could easily have ended differently.
With two exceptions, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated and issued its final findings of probable cause for the accidents contained in this article. Reports and complete data summaries are located in the Aviation Accident Database at ntsb.gov.
Two accidents in 2017 resulted in minor injuries to pilots:
Five accidents resulted in no injuries to pilots or skydivers:
Piloting a jump plane is among the most demanding of flying jobs, with multiple takeoffs and landings in a variety of conditions and with a variety of loads, as well as the need to refuel often throughout a day. Pilots should fly every flight professionally. A variety of resources—the USPA Skydiving Aircraft Operations Manual and Jump Pilot Training Syllabus, a Flight Operations Handbook and the articles “Formation Flying 101” and the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Aircraft Control After Engine Failure on Takeoff”—are available under the Governance tab at uspa.org. Jump pilots and skydiving aircraft operators should utilize these resources as part of a comprehensive and proactive safety-management system.
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