NTSB Identification: SEA89LA114.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40976.
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 20, 1989 in THE DALLES, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1992
Aircraft: HUGHES BENSEN B-8M, registration: N3196
Injuries: 1 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 WAS ATTEMPTING TO SET A WORLD RECORD FOR FLIGHT FROM CANADA TO MEXICO IN THE GYROCOPTER. THE PILOT HAD STOPPED AT THE DALLES, IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, FOR FUEL. AFTER DEPARTING THE DALLES, THE PILOT FLEW SOUTH ALONG A HIGHWAY THAT FOLLOWS A VALLEY EXTENDING FROM THE GORGE TO HIGHER TERRAIN SOUTH OF THE DALLES. THERE ARE STEEP HILLS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HIGHWAY. THE PILOT WAS FLYING APRX 200 FT AGL MAKING PASSES OVER A GROUND CREW WHO WERE FILMING THE FLIGHT, WHEN THE AIRCRAFT ABRUPTLY FLIPPED INTO AN INVERTED ATTITUDE AND IMPACTED ON A HILLSIDE BY THE HIGHWAY. A MEMBER OF THE GROUND CREW FILMING THE FLIGHT ESTIMATED ON THE TAPE BEFORE THE ACCIDENT THAT THE WINDS WERE 40-50 MPH.

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

THE PILOTS POOR JUDGEMENT IN ATTEMPTING LOW LEVEL FLIGHT IN A NARROW VALLEY DURING HIGH WIND CONDITIONS.

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