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NTSB Prelim: Cessna 208; Dudek Paragliders Solo 21

The Final ADS-B Data Return Had A Descent Rate Of 8,960 Ft/Min

Location: Fulshear, TX Accident Number: CEN22FA081
Date & Time: December 21, 2021, 09:26 Local Registration: N1116N (A1); UNREG (A2)
Aircraft: Cessna 208 (A1); Dudek Paragliders Solo 21 (A2) Injuries: 1 Fatal (A1); 1 Fatal (A2)
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled (A1); Part 103: Ultralight (A2)

On December 21, 2021, about 0926 central standard time, a Cessna 208B airplane, N1116N, collided with a powered paraglider while inflight near Fulshear, Texas. The pilot of the Cessna 208B and the individual flying the powered paraglider were fatally injured. The Cessna 208B was destroyed and the powered paraglider sustained substantial damage. The Cessna 208B was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 cargo flight, and the powered paraglider was operated as a Title 14 CFR part 103 personal flight.

According to air traffic control data, at 0910, the Cessna 208B departed George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Houston, Texas, on runway 26R and then flew to the southwest toward Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), Victoria, Texas. At 0917:53, the pilot of the Cessna 208B was cleared to climb and maintain 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl). At 0924:08, the Cessna 208B pilot asked the controller, “…confirm you wanted me at five thousand opposite direction traffic.” The controller replied that he wanted the Cessna 20B to remain at 5,000 ft msl, but to expect a higher altitude soon.

According to automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data that was transmitted from the Cessna 208B to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC), between 0925:31 and 0925:34, the Cessna 208B departed level flight at 5,000 ft msl and entered a rapidly increasing descent.

The final ADS-B track data was recorded at 0925:34 at 4,725 ft msl and about ½ mile northeast of the Cessna 208B main wreckage site. The final ADS-B data return had a descent rate of 8,960 ft/min. The powered paraglider was not equipped with a transponder or ADS-B equipment, and as such the powered paraglider’s position was not displayed on the air traffic controller’s display. A review of the source radar data indicated that there were numerous primary returns near where the Cessna 208B departed level flight and ADS-B data was lost. However, these primary returns were not displayed on the controller’s display nor would they have a reported altitude.

An onsite examination revealed that the outboard 10 ft of the Cessna 208B right wing had separated inflight and was located on the ground about ½ mile east-southeast of the main Cessna 208B wreckage.

The leading edge of the right wing exhibited a semicircular impact impression that measured about 5 ft wide and about 36 inches deep. There were remnants of fabric consistent with the jacket that the individual flying the powered paraglider was wearing found within the semicircular impression. The Cessna 208B impacted terrain at a high vertical speed in a steep nose down and inverted attitude.

The wreckage was oriented on a magnetic heading of about 332°. The Cessna 208B wreckage was highly fragmented and the impact crater was about 10 ft deep. Flight control continuity could not be established due to fragmentation and soil embedment; however, all flight control cable separations were consistent with tensile overload. The engine and propeller were located at the base of the impact crater.

All three propeller blades had separated from the hub and exhibited leading edge gouging and chordwise scoring. Two of the propeller blades exhibited S-shape bending. The individual flying the powered paraglider and the paraglider’s engine were found about 0.7 mile eastnortheast of the Cessna 208B main wreckage. The individual and the paraglider engine had separated from the seat harness. The paraglider airfoil and harness were located about 3.9 miles south of the Cessna 208B main wreckage. The paraglider harness exhibited tearing and impact damage. The paraglider airfoil remained intact with minor tearing of the lower airfoil surface. The emergency parachute was found deployed, with no evidence of damage.

There were two video devices recovered near the body of the powered paraglider pilot, which were submitted to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for possible data download.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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