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Mon, Feb 11, 2008

NTSB Factual Notes Plane Was Overgross In May 2007 Accident

Skydiving Plane Went Down South Of Kalispell, MT

In its updated Factual report on the May 12, 2007 downing of a skydiving flight near Kalispell, MT, the National Transportation Safety Board notes there were no apparent structural or mechanical issues with the Cessna 182... but adds the plane was over gross weight, and barely within the acceptable aft CG envelope.

The report does not state whether that condition resulted in the crash, which killed all five persons onboard.

"It doesn't mean that they cannot fly if it's a few pounds over," NTSB Regional Director Debra Eckrote told The Great Falls Tribune. "It's just something that we note in the investigation. The center of gravity is what is more important in the accident sequence. In this particular case, he was still within the envelope (and) he was just slightly over gross weight."

Investigators also found the engine's oil filler cap unattached, though its unknown whether that condition was a result of the crash.

As ANN reported, the pilot and two tandem skydive teams were onboard the aircraft, which went down shortly after takeoff from Carson Field Airstrip (MT53) in Marion, MT. The plane was operated by Skydive Lost Prairie. Witnesses told the NTSB the plane was attempting to return to the runway, when the aircraft's left wing dipped and the plane impacted the ground.

Company owner Fred Sand told the Tribune he would wait to see the Board's Probable Cause report to speculate on what led to the crash.

"Because the probable cause hasn't been released, anything that anybody says is still speculation," Sand said. "It's still absolutely a mystery to me as to why this all happened."

FMI: Read The Factual Report, www.skydivelostprairie

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