Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna U206A, VH-RPZ, 1 km South Pakenham VIC, 4 January 1987

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The two parachutists were preparing for a jump in which one pulled the other from the aircraft. During the final stages of the preparation, the reserve parachute of the front jumper prematurely deployed. Both persons were ejected from the aircraft, and the leading jumper struck the tailplane. A portion of the horizontal stabiliser was torn off and the aircraft pitched down beyond the vertical. The pilot was unable to regain any control, and, with some difficulty, abandoned the aircraft. He deployed his parachute at about 500 feet above the ground, and landed safely. The parachutist who had struck the tailplane was initially rendered unconscious, and had suffered a broken right arm. She recovered sufficiently to deploy her main parachute and control her descent when close to the ground. The aircraft was destroyed when it impacted the ground in a steep nose-down attitude at high speed. The inadvertent deployment of the reserve parachute was probably caused by the body movements of the parachutist as she moved to her jump position outside the aircraft. The most likely explanation for the inadvertent deployment was that either the securing pins were not engaged correctly or that the rip chord was too short. The rip chord was not recovered. _

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 04 January 1987   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1635    
Location: 1 km South Pakenham    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 17 July 1987   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 206  
Aircraft registration VH-RPZ  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Pakenham VIC  
Departure time 1635  
Destination Pakenham VIC