Preliminary Report Issued On Hawaii Skydiving Crash


The NTSB has issued its preliminary report on the fatal crash of a Beech 65-A90 conducting a skydiving flight from Dillingham Airfield (HDH) in Mokuleia, Hawaii, on June 21. As previously reported by AVweb, all eleven people onboard—the pilot, three tandem parachute instructors and their three customers, two camera operators and two solo jumpers—were killed in the accident, making it the deadliest crash of a civilian airplane in the U.S. since 2011. The Board noted that the two solo jumpers joined the flight “at the last minute.”

The aircraft was owned by N80896 LLC and operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC). According to the NTSB report (PDF), an OPC parachute instructor who witnessed the aircraft’s departure and subsequent crash told the NTSB that the engines sounded “normal” during takeoff. The report states, “When the airplane came into his view as it headed toward him, it was at an altitude of between 150 and 200 ft above ground level and appeared to be turning. He could see its belly, with the top of the cabin facing the ocean to the north. The airplane then struck the ground in a nose-down attitude, and a fireball erupted.”

The flight was the fourth of five parachute jump flights scheduled in the aircraft that day. The Board’s preliminary review of video data from a nearby surveillance camera showed the aircraft in an inverted 45-degree nose-down attitude just before impact. The camera captured only about one second of footage of the accident aircraft. The investigation is ongoing.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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      • Well, yea; it said that “it turned and crashed”. That’s not a preliminary report, that’s just regurgitating that it was VFR and corroborating that there was a new smoking hole at the airport.

        WHY NOT MENTION THE STRUCTURAL FAILURE that the plane suffered 3 years ago? The very same thing with the very same airplane doing the very same kind of flying(but it happened at altitude an all survived). The 1967 plane was documented to have been over-stressed and to recently needing to replace those the elevators that were lost in-flight…

    • A Preliminary is pretty much just a verification of the initial accident report and factual evidence immediately available, per forms 6120.19 and 6120.4. This one is par for the course (the full text of the NTSB Preliminary is available using the PDF link in the AvWeb article.