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Last updated: 22 October 2021
Date:Sunday 29 September 1985
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208 Caravan I
Operator:Air Carriers Express Services Inc
Registration: N551CC
MSN: 20800017
First flight: 1985
Total airframe hrs:350
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Total:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Jenkinsburg, GA (   United States of America)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Jenkinsburg, GA, United States of America
Destination airport:Jenkinsburg, GA, United States of America
The aircraft departed Jenkinsburg on a skydiving flight. The engine lost power at approx 300 feet agl. and the Caravan then banked steeply left, spiralled in a steep nose down attitude and crashed. It appeared that the fuel in the tanks was contaminated with water and foreign material with the appearance of brown algae. A milky fluid (approx 65% jet fuel and 34% water) was found in the engine fuel control, as well as iron contaminants. Dark stringy material was found in the fuel filters. The aircraft had been refuelled from 55 gallon drums which contained contaminated fuel. The drums were stored upright and rain water could leak through the filler caps.
N551CC had a history of fuel contamination which on occasions caused the fuel bypass indicator to display. Reportedly, the stall warning circuit breaker had been disengaged on other occasions, so as not to startle the jumpers; however, due to damage, its preimpact position could not be verified. The plane was estimated to be 370 lb (168 kg) over its maximum weight limit and 1 inch forward of the CG limit.

Probable Cause:

"Maintenance, service of aircraft/equipment .. improper .. company/operator management
Operation with known deficiencies in equipment .. performed .. company/operator management
Airspeed .. not maintained .. pilot in command
Stall .. inadvertent .. pilot in command
Fluid, fuel .. contamination
Spiral .. inadvertent .. pilot in command
Fluid, fuel .. water
Electrical system, circuit breaker .. not engaged
Fuel system .. contamination
Warning system(other) .. disabled
Improper use of procedure .. pilot in command
Inadequate surveillance of operation .. FAA"

Fuel contamination
Loss of control

» NTSB/AAR-87/02/SUM


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