Plane hits parachute

A serious lack of communication seems to be the problem here.

That, or landing on a freaking active runway! I know skydivers come back to the airport, or very near it, but damn.

Then again, the pilot is 87 years old. Did that have any bearing on his vision or situational awareness?

Either way, it’s amazing that they’re both still alive.

Rut Row !!!

Lucy & Ethyl, you both got some splainin to do.

Incredible sequence of photos there! Those must be frame grabs from a video, right?

Since skydivers have no engine, have no choice but to descend, and are less maneuverable they actually do have right of way over powered airplanes. This is sort of (but not exactly) the airborne equivalent of a car hitting a pedestrian. Except a pedestrian can reverse course and a skydiver can’t.

Actually, the pilot is reported to be a woman.

Possibly age is a factor, but pilots that age are required to undergo regular physical exams. The only pilot I knew person flying into late old age (she was active until around 96 if I recall) at some point was required to go in for an exam every six months instead of the usual 1 year for commercial pilots, or 2 years for private pilots after 40 but I don’t recall at what age that was required of her. The oldest licensed pilot ever in the US was, if I recall, 102 when he stopped flying. So some old people continue flying, and the medical issues, even for younger pilots, are watched much more closely than for automobile drivers.

So… possible, and I’m sure it will be looked into, but I think it’s likely that she just didn’t see the skydiver. Airplanes, like autos, have blind spots. In an airplane with the wing above the pilot’s head, as shown, it can be hard to see something above you… like a skydiver.

This is why I prefer to not fly in and out of airports where skydiving is happening, much less do touch and go’s. It’s not that I won’t, but it requires an extra level of vigilance for safety. It’s also standard procedure for jump pilots to broadcast over the radio when skydivers are leaving their airplane, to give other pilots some warning that it’s raining men (and women).

While skydivers and aircraft operating out the same airport are supposed to be “separated”, with different areas designated for each activity, as noted skydivers don’t have complete control over their course and anyhow, people of any sort can make mistakes.

Yes. They’re both extremely lucky.

The pilot was just standing his ground.

I think it’s a series of photographs. Someone had a still camera and managed to snap the sequence, I’ve only seen the separate photos, I’ve not seen any video.

Looking at photo number 10, my whole body shook-----the jumper was WAY too close to the propeller…

Skydiver, pilot survive airborne collision

An 87-year-old pilot was doing touch-and-goes in a Cessna 170, when his starboard wing clipped the parachute of a 49-year-old skydiver who was landing there. I can’t tell by the photos whether the pilot was not landing on the grass strip, or if the skydiver was attempting to land on the runway.

In any case, the photos are amazing.


Amazing photos! Way to be in the right place at the right time, Tim Telford!

Not on a runway.

I didn’t see the earlier thread. (More photos on in this OP, though. :wink: )

Both news reports that I’ve seen have said that the pilot was a man named “Sharon”, which is probably causing the confusion.

Looks like the pilot preformed a touch-and-don’t-go.

The regulations I’m familiar with don’t have that exception. Please quote the relevant part of Part 91 (or other reg) that says that.

*CFR › Title 14 › Chapter I › Subchapter F › Part 91 › Subpart B › Section 91.113

(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

© In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.

(d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other’s right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories—

indent A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;
(2) A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.
(3) An airship has the right-of-way over a powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.
However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.

(e) Approaching head-on. When aircraft are approaching each other head-on, or nearly so, each pilot of each aircraft shall alter course to the right.

(f) Overtaking. Each aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way and each pilot of an overtaking aircraft shall alter course to the right to pass well clear.

(g) Landing. Aircraft, while on final approach to land or while landing, have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating on the surface, except that they shall not take advantage of this rule to force an aircraft off the runway surface which has already landed and is attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach. When two or more aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing, the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way, but it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final approach to land or to overtake that aircraft.*[/indent]

There’s nothing there about the right-of-way of skydivers. However, under Part 105 [emphasis mine]:

*Sec. 105.23 Parachute operations over or onto airports

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft, over or onto any airport unless-

(a) For airports with an operating control tower:

indent Prior approval has been obtained from the management of the airport to conduct parachute operations over or on that airport.

(2) Approval has been obtained from the control tower to conduct parachute operations over or onto that airport.

(3) Two-way radio communications are maintained between the pilot of the aircraft involved in the parachute operation and the control tower of the airport over or onto which the parachute operation is being conducted.

(b) For airports without an operating control tower, prior approval has been obtained from the management of the airport to conduct parachute operations over or on that airport.

© A parachutist may drift over that airport with a fully deployed and properly functioning parachute if the parachutist is at least 2,000 feet above that airport’s traffic pattern, and avoids creating a hazard to air traffic or to persons and property on the ground.*[/indent]

IANA lawyer, nor have I flown into or out of airports where parachute operations were happening. But the way I’m reading these sections is that a skydiver doesn’t legally have right-of-way over an aircraft. Assuming for the sake of argument that the skydiver is an ‘aircraft’, the Cessna would have the right-of-way as the landing aircraft at a lower altitude under Part 91. Under Part 105, the skydiver must not create a hazard to air traffic.

As Broomstick noted, it’s hard to see what’s above you in a high-wing airplane. ISTM that either by accident or intention, the skydiver was in the wrong place. The pilot was where he was supposed to be.

Merged two similar threads.

Hal Briston - MPSIMS Moderator

The problem is when you have an airport that’s also operated as a designated landing zone for parachutists. Which I’ve seen/experienced. Granted, the example that most sticks in my mind was a privately owned field that airplanes shouldn’t be landing at without prior permission (which I had, when I was there).

The thing is, you have regs saying unpowered aircraft have right of way over powered aircraft, but the lower aircraft in a traffic pattern has right of way… but if the lower aircraft is powered and the higher one is unpowered you have a conflict in the regs right there. That is, of course, assuming a skydiver is an “aircraft”. If he had a fan strapped to his back with an engine attached to it he would be considered an aircraft. Then we can argue over whether he’s an ultralight or a sport pilot.

There is also that the landing aircraft has right of way over non-landing aircraft, and while the skydiver was landing the Cessna in this case was taking off, not landing.

The regulations aren’t explicit and there is a potential for conflict.

In any case, it’s a good rule of thumb you don’t want to hit anything at all while in the air regardless of what’s holding you up off the ground. The FAA holds pilots responsible for seeing and avoiding hazards regardless of whether they technically have right of way or not.

How about a NOAA Gulfstream colliding with a fish?

Well, that’s certainly an unusual fish story…

AFIAK, there’s not a whole lot the FAA can do to a skydiver. I did see this:

Sec. 105.5 General

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from an aircraft, if that operation creates a hazard to air traffic or to persons or property on the surface.

Parachuting onto an active airport constitutes a hazard IMO. But the FAA will probably cite the pilot for failing to ‘see and avoid’ a hazard in his blind spot.