Pilot Fatally Injured, Passenger Survived
The NTSB has issued a preliminary report from an accident involving a Buckeye Aviation Dream Machine two-seat powered parachute which collided with trees and terrain near Knoxville, TN on April 2.
According to the report, the powered parachute was substantially damaged. The sport pilot was fatally injured, and one passenger was seriously injured. The powered parachute was registered to and operated by the pilot. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight. The flight originated at a private, grass airstrip about 1444.
The passenger reported that the preflight portion of the flight was uneventful. The takeoff was accomplished on a grass airstrip and the flight departed to the west. About 45 minutes later, the pilot overflew the passenger's residence. Subsequently, the pilot maneuvered the powered parachute to the east, over rising terrain and trees. The aircraft did not seem to be climbing quickly enough to clear the trees and the landing gear struck about three trees before the aircraft dropped into the woods, striking tree limbs on the way down. The passenger egressed his seat; however, he was unable to walk and was met by first responders and transported to a local hospital. The passenger further stated that he was not aware of any problems with the engine prior to the accident.
All structure and components of the powered parachute were accounted for at the accident site. The powered parachute was found in the upright position in a forested area. There was no fire. The landing gear remained attached to the frame. The tubular frame was buckled or bent in several places. The parachute and lines were adjacent to the airframe, and were entangled with broken tree branches. Continuity from the parachute to the cockpit flight controls was established. Both occupants were wearing helmets at the time of the accident and an intercom system was installed.
The engine mounts were broken. The three-bladed composite propeller remained attached to the engine, and the outer sections of each blade were broken and splintered. Continuity from the cockpit controls to the engine was established. The 8-gallon fuel tank contained about 4 gallons of fuel.
The pilot, who was seated in the front cockpit seat, held a sport pilot certificate. He did not hold a Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate. According to his pilot logbook, he had logged about 90 hours of total flight experience, all in Buckeye powered parachutes.
The single-engine, tandem-cockpit powered parachute incorporated a fixed, tricycle landing gear. It was equipped with a Rotax 582-series, two-stroke, twin-cylinder reciprocating engine rated at 66 horsepower. Examination of maintenance records revealed that it was built in 2005 and accumulated about 139 hours since new.