Cessna 182 Pilot Jumps Out of Damaged Plane at 2,000 Feet

Skydiving pilot makes first jump ever to save his life.

A 21-year-old pilot who works for a skydiving company was forced to make a skydiving jump of his own — his first ever — to bail out of his Cessna 182 after a previous jumper damaged the aircraft in flight.

Southern Illinois University student Shawn Kinmartin was flying south of St. Louis at 11,500 feet when the last two skydivers in the 182 jumped from the airplane. One of them hit the elevator, causing Kinmartin's 182 to start losing altitude and making it a struggle to control the airplane.

A fellow pilot flew up to help assess the situation and confirmed to Kinmartin that the tail was badly bent. As the controls became less and less responsive, Kinmartin ruled out an emergency landing and decided to bail out. After directing the airplane toward vacant farmland, he jumped from the airplane at 2,000 feet wearing a parachute provided by his employer.

The manager of the skydiving service, Fly Free Skydiving, praised Kinmartin's quick thinking and calm demeanor during the incident. Kinmartin is slated to graduate soon from SIU with a degree in aviation flight and management.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.

We welcome your comments on flyingmag.com. In order to maintain a respectful environment, we ask that all comments be on-topic, respectful and spam-free. All comments made here are public and may be republished by Flying.