Incidents News

Pilot bail-out at Fly Free Skydiving

Written by Kolla

Shawn Kinmartin, the pilot of a small Cessna (182) operating at Fly Free Skydiving just south of St. Louis, Missouri had plenty of reasons to buy beer after his first jump last Saturday!

Flying a load of 4 jumpers, one jumper experienced a premature reserve deployment after snagging on something in the door during climb-out, dislodging the reserve pin.  It seems that the reserve free bag and pilot chute caught the tail, causing damage and interfering with controls. Working with Air Traffic Control, the pilot was able to maneuver the plane so that it pointed into farmland on the other side of the Mississippi River.  Around 2000 feet, Shawn bailed from the aircraft and landed safely in a nearby bean field.

The four jumpers on the load all landed safely at the DZ.

The take-home message is to be vigilant about your gear. Protect those pins from packing to deployment, and note how moving around in a smaller aircraft or tight door situations may present more opportunities for snag points than the wide open doors of larger planes. Watch yourself, watch your friends!

News Reports: KPLR.com (story and photo gallery), Aviation Safety Network

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