NTSB Identification: SEA99LA129A
Accident occurred Saturday, July 24, 1999 in SCAPPOOSE, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/2000
Aircraft: VANEK SPORT COPTER, registration: N61887
Injuries: 3 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.

A witness observed the gyroplane on final approach to land on the taxiway. When the gyroplane was about 200-250 feet high on final, the witness saw a high-wing ultralight vehicle climb into view, after takeoff from the taxiway. The ultralight's climb was described as very steep. The witness stated that 'the ultralight impacted the gyroplane, very hard, at the aft end striking the rudder with the ultralight[']s propeller. I could see many pieces of debris in the air at the point of impact. Both aircraft were stopped in the mid-air. The ultralight raised up into the rotor system of the gyroplane coming in contact with the rotor blade. This impact threw the ultralight off to the right, and then it came in, nose down, landing on the right side of the taxi way. The gyroplane after being hit from behind, stopped in mid-air. The rotor blade, after being hit by the ultralight, lost 7 ft. on one side (of a 29 foot blade) rendering the rotor system completely ineffective. The gyroplane then spun slowly on its side, in the air, approximately 200 ft. above ground.'

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

The failure of the ultralight operator to see and avoid the landing gyroplane, and the gyroplane pilot's inability to see the departing ultralight vehicle.

Full narrative available

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