Narrative:Air US Flight 716 departed Denver-Stapleton, CO at 15:46 for a flight to Gillette, WY. At 15:59 Flight 716 contacted Denver Center to request to maintain FL130, which was approved. In the same area a Cessna TU206 (N4862F, operated by Sky's West Parachute Center) was climbing in a racetrack pattern over Fort Collins/Loveland Municipal Airport to an altitude of FL155. The Cessna had departed this airport at 15:30 for the second parachute jump flight of the day.
|Date:||Friday 17 April 1981|
|Type:||Handley Page HP-137 Jetstream III|
|C/n / msn:|| 238|
|First flight:|| 1969|
|Total airframe hrs:||3795|
|Engines:|| 2 Garrett TPE331-U-303V|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11|
|Total:||Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13 |
|Collision casualties:||Fatalities: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off|
|Airplane fate:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||3 km (1.9 mls) ESE of Fort Collins/Loveland Municipal Airport, CO (FNL) (United States of America)
|Phase:|| En route (ENR)|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN), United States of America|
|Destination airport:||Gillette-Campbell County Airport, WY (GCC), United States of America|
The Cessna was in a climbing left turn on a north-westerly heading when it was hit by the Air US Jetstream. The No. 1 propeller of the Jetstream cut through the aft fuselage section of the Cessna resulting in immediate loss of control to both aircraft. Two of the skydivers were killed inside the aircraft during the collision. The pilot and three parachutists fell free of the aircraft and parachuted to the ground. The remains of the Cessna descended out of control and crashed in an open field. The Jetstream impacted the ground in a nearly vertical pitch attitude in an open field about 4,000 feet northeast of the Cessna wreckage.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the Cessna pilot to establish communications with the Denver Center and his climbing into controlled airspace above 12,500 feet without an authorised deviation from the altitude encoding transponder (Mode-C) requirement, the practice of the Denver Center of routinely condoning Sky's West parachute jump operations above 12,500 feet without a Mode-C transponder and the failure of the pilots of both aircraft to "see and avoid" each other. Contributing to the accident was the fact that existing regulations do not prohibit parachute jumping in, or immediately adjacent to, Federal airways."
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO to Gillette-Campbell County Airport, WY as the crow flies is 508 km (317 miles).