NTSB Identification: FTW96LA161.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 04, 1996 in CARTHAGE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: Bensen GYROPLANE, registration: NONE
Injuries: 1 Fatal,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 rotor blades of an unregistered gyroplane struck a bystander that was taking pictures of the gyroplane during the takeoff roll. According to the noncertificated pilot, the bystander had noticed his gyroplane, and expressed a great deal of interest, having worked on helicopters in the past. The pilot agreed to demonstrate the gyroplane and to perform a flight around his property to allow him to take pictures of it in flight. Before initiating a takeoff roll from his property, the pilot motioned to the bystander to move further to the right of the strip; the bystander acknowledged the signal and moved back. The pilot stated that he noticed that the bystander moved the camera up to his face and proceeded to take pictures as the gyroplane accelerated. As the gyroplane rolled past the bystander, the main rotor blade impacted the bystander's head, and the pilot felt a slight bump on the stick. The pilot then aborted the takeoff. The pilot stated that the bystander may have possibly lost perspective of the actual distance to the gyroplane as he viewed it through the camera's view finder.

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

the pilot's inadequate coordination with the spectator, concerning the spectator's need to remain clear of the takeoff area, and the spectator's failure to remain clear of the takeoff area. A factor relating to the accident was: the spectator's distorted perception of distance, while viewing the aircraft through a camera view finder.

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