NTSB Identification: ATL97LA048.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 11, 1997 in BUNNELL, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/1998
Aircraft: BILL PARSON PARSON 2+2, registration: N254WP
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 pilot/owner of the gyrocopter had completed maintenance repairs on the gyrocopter prior to the attempted departure. The pilot made a bending adjustment to the front flight control stick and had reinstalled it into the front position. Since this gyrocopter was also used for training, and the student pilot station was the front, the pilot had placed a frangible stick in that position. The purpose of the frangible or 'soft stick,' was to enable the instructor pilot, seated in the rear, to override the control forces of the student. According to an eyewitness, the pilot climbed into the front seat and the passenger climbed into the rear seat. The witness watched the gyrocopter as it climbed to about the height of the trees, entered a left turn and disappeared out of sight. Seconds later the witness saw a large flame coming from the vicinity where the gyrocopter was last seen. An examination of the gyrocopter at the accident site disclosed that the front seat control stick was fractured; the control stick fracture faces exhibited features typical of a fatigue cracking.

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

The owner/pilot mechanic's improper bending of the front flight control stick that resulted in an fatigue failure, and the subsequent loss of flight control.

Full narrative available

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