Company was told to stop skydiving before fatal crash; now ordered to vacate
KHON: … The company in charge of the airplane that crashed in Mokuleia last month, killing 11 people, had been ordered to stop its skydiving operation well before the fatal crash. The company was given a cease-and-desist order from the state Department of Transportation earlier this spring, and today was told to leave. We found out there may be state labor department issues, too, which could make it difficult for families to collect what is owed when workers die on the job.
Sources tell Always Investigating that Oahu Parachute Center has been given a five-day notice to vacate its Dillingham Airfield facility. The plane that crashed in June shortly after takeoff was Oahu Parachute Center’s only aircraft, leased from a mainland owner, and the company has not resumed operations since the accident.
Now we’ve learned Oahu Parachute Center was supposed to have stopped skydiving long before the crash, after the state D.O.T. gave the company a cease-and-desist notice in April over business and aircraft registration issues. The suspension date was May 15, more than a month before the accident….
Oahu Parachute Center had no state labor department registrations on file for unemployment, workers’ compensation, prepaid health care or temporary disability insurance. Workers comp alone is supposed to guaranty payouts to families of up to $280,000 per person killed on the job, regardless of liability or fault….
Oahu Parachute Center operated out of a structure built without permits. Sources say none of the structures at Dillingham had permits. D.O.T. had no structure approval process in place, and the airfield lacks utility infrastructure in general. Critics of airport management say the lack of facilities strains maintenance and safety.
“These operators up at Dillingham, I know all of them first hand, they’ve been applying for years to build maintenance facilities,” Townley-Wren said. “If you want to maintain your aircraft there are not a lot of options up there because the state won’t allow it.”…
read … Company was told to stop skydiving before fatal crash; now ordered to vacate
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National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Preliminary Report
From NTSB, July 9, 2019 (excerpt)
On June 21, 2019, at 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech 65-A90, N256TA, collided with terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and ten passengers sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC, and was being operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local sky-diving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
According to the owner of OPC, the accident flight was the fourth of five parachute jump flights scheduled for that day. Two flights took place between 0900 and 0930 and the third departed about 1730 on the first of what OPC called, "sunset" flights. The occupants on the accident flight included the pilot, three tandem parachute instructors and their three customers, and two camera operators; two solo jumpers decided to join the accident flight at the last minute.
The passengers were loaded onto the airplane while it was on the taxiway next to the OPC facility on the southeast side of the airport. A parachute instructor at OPC observed the boarding process and watched as the airplane taxied west to the departure end of runway 8. He could hear the engines during the initial ground roll and stated that the sound was normal, consistent with the engines operating at high power. When the airplane came into his view as it headed toward him, it was at an altitude of between 150 and 200 ft above ground level and appeared to be turning. He could see its belly, with the top of the cabin facing the ocean to the north. The airplane then struck the ground in a nose-down attitude, and a fireball erupted.
The final second of the accident sequence was captured in the top left frame of a surveillance video camera located at the southeast corner of the airport. Preliminary review of the video data revealed that just before impact the airplane was in an inverted 45° nose-down attitude….
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