NTSB Identification: ANC99LA048.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 18, 1999 in PALMER, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2000
Aircraft: Elam RAF 2000-GTX, registration: N95WE
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot was departing on runway 15 in a gyroplane. He said that as the gyroplane climbed to about 400 feet above the runway, strong winds were encountered from the southeast. The pilot stated: 'I just could not keep it from sinking, and I had to put it down.' The pilot said that during a forced landing in an open field the gyroplane landed hard, and the fuselage and main rotor system sustained substantial damage. The pilot holds a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating, and did not hold a rotorcraft-gyroplane rating. The pilot stated that he did obtain an instructor's logbook endorsement for solo flight in gyroplanes. The pilot reported that after the accident a bent and fractured cyclic control tube was found lying next to the gyroplane wreckage. The cyclic control tube was sent to the NTSB's Materials Laboratory for examination. A Safety Board metallurgist reported that the fracture surfaces exhibited features consistent with an overstress separation. He added that the fracture face was consistent with the direction of the tube bending. The closest official weather observation station is Palmer. On April 18, at 1153, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: Wind, 170 degrees at 7 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions. A factor associated with the accident was a downdraft.

Full narrative available

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