NTSB Identification: LAX01LA161.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 28, 2001 in MARYSVILLE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: TAYLOR BANDIT, registration: N8057T
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The experimental gyrocopter dropped back to the runway and caught fire following a loss of engine power during takeoff. The gyrocopter made a nose high takeoff. About 50 to 100 feet in the air, the engine sputtered and the gyrocopter fell straight back down to the runway. It burst into flames, and the pilot extricated himself from the wreckage. He fled the runway, on his own power with his clothes on fire, to a truck where medical personnel provided treatment. The gyrocopter had tapered fuel tanks that narrowed at the bottom. Fuel lines at the bottom of the tank went from the leading and trailing edge of the tank to the engine. The pilot used two plastic gas cans to fuel the gyrocopter. About 1/2 gallon of fuel remained in each can, and investigators discovered water in each can. The gas had been in the fuel cans when the pilot arrived at the airport. A third can that was full of fuel also had water in it.

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

The pilot performed an inadequate preflight inspection resulting in a loss of engine power at a low altitude because of water contamination.

Full narrative available

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