NTSB Identification: DEN00LA079.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 30, 2000 in GILLETTE, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2001
Aircraft: GREEN GTX-SE-FI, registration: N2411V
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Witnesses said the experimental amateur-built gyrocopter (or gyroplane) was flying low and the engine sounded like it was 'racing,' or 'sputtering,' then 'the rotors come apart in the air.' There was no evidence of the rotor blades separating in flight, but there was evidence that the blades had struck the vertical stabilizer and rudder, severing the tail boom. Two blades of the 4-blade propeller were shattered. The pilot's close friend (who assisted the pilot in building the gyrocopter) said if the pilot was flying at high speed and was to suddenly increase the angle of attack and abruptly move the cyclic control aft, the main rotor blades could conceivably strike the tail boom. The accident site was near abruptly rising terrain. On a previous occasion, the pilot accelerated to a high ground speed before increasing the angle of attack for liftoff. The rotor blades struck the runway and were damaged to the extent that they had to be replaced.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's abruptly pulling the nose up at an excessive airspeed, resulting in the rotor blades striking the vertical stabilizer and a subsequent loss of aircraft control. Full narrative available
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