Part of a post I should have posted here .... Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar was a World War II era. passenger transport
Aug. 21, 1983--Eleven, including nine jumpers, died when a Lockheed L-18 Lodestar stalled and plunged 12,000 feet at Silvana, Wash. The 15 survivors included 11 who jumped before the plane went out of control and four who escaped on the way down. [ Stanwood, Wash., UPI --, Aug 22, 1983]
“After the first 10 or so exited things went crazy and the plane flipped and began a flat spin... at that moment time seemed to slow way down and it appeared that I was watching a movie in slow motion as it seemed to just waffle and fall past me with little horizontal separation from me. I could see people exiting from the aft end of the plane. Then everything went back to real time and I cleared myself and dumped. During opening I could see the fireball at impact and under canopy I heard it. I quickly counted open parachutes and I knew we were missing nine.” Their average descent rate was 550 ft/sec (it was 23 sec. stall at 12,500 ft. to-impact.) [Survivor tbdavis1 (D 7719) In Dropzone.com, ]
“I’ve got pieces of people everywhere in my barnyard.” Said McGuire whose property borders the crash site.
Excerpts from the FAA Accident Report, Lockheed Learstar L - 18, Landry Aviation, NI16CA, August 21, 1983, Silvana, Washington
About 1832 p.d.t.. on August 21, 1983, a Lockheed L-18 Learstar, N116C.4, operated by' Landry Aviation crashed in a farm field adjacent to a State highway after uncontrolled descent from 12,500 feet. The airplane had carried 24 sport parachute jumpers and 2 pilots. Fifteen parachutists successfully parachuted from the airplane during the descent. Nine parachutists and the two pilots were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the operator and the pilot-in-command to assure proper load distribution during the jumper exit procedure. Surviving parachutists stated that takeoff and climb, to the jump altitude were normal. All the parachutists remained in the positions occupied at takeoff until jump altitude was reached. Surviving parachutists also stated that none of the jumpers seated on the floor used the available seatbelts. About 1 minute before the airplane arrived above- the drop zone, two jumpers moved aft to the door to spot the airplane for the jump run. ,,,, the drop zone, the jumpers moved to their prejump-positions. ….. as they jumped, One of them observed the airplane was in a steep right bank, that it then rolled over, the nose dropped, and that it entered a steep dive during which it made one or two slow spirals as it continued the steep dive until it struck the ground. Descriptions of the descent offered by several other jumpers were similar. that they felt the aft end of the airplane drop, then oscillate slightly up and down, after Three jumpers, the 9th, llth,and 12th in the planned jump sequence…. the airplane rolled to the right before the jumpers were able to reach the door. One was killed and two were seriously injured when they struck the tail. Sixteen of the 24 jumpers were able to leave the airplane.; 13 were uninjured. Witnesses on the ground, stated it rolled to the right, entered a steep dive, and rotated slowly during the dive. They described loud “screaming” engine* sounds which continued until the airplane struck struck the ground in a steep nosedown attitude.”
* * * * “screaming engine* -- “…the aircraft was in a dive at full power… over 400 knots. you could hear rivets popping out of as the airframe gave way … sounded like a machine gun…” JW (Witness).
Landing zone was a field near the airport at Arlington, WA. There will be a gathering of friends/family at Arlington Airport on Aug 21, 2013 to remember our friends 30 years after the crash. Paraphernalia is hosting the event. www.rememberingarlington1983.com
I remember that,we started wearing seat-belts again and not moving around the plane too much. Parachutist published pictures of the dive taken from the ground and the subsequent fireball, it was a terrible thing.