NTSB Identification: NYC01LA190.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 28, 2001 in Titusville, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/2002
Aircraft: Holsclaw Barnett J4B, registration: N3919C
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.
The non-certificated pilot bought a homebuilt gyroplane. He returned it to his home and assembled it for flight. At the completion of his first test flight, he reported that it flew nose heavy. Without correcting the nose heavy situation, he then departed on a longer flight, and returned to the departure airport after about an hour's absence. Witnesses saw the gyrocopter make a pass down the runway at reduced power. During the pass, the nose dropped, the pilot added power, and the nose returned to the horizon. The pilot then initiated a steep right turn. During the turn, the nose dropped and the gyrocopter impacted the ground. Witnesses reported that the pilot had been told to "hang" the gyroplane prior to flight to check for proper position of the mast plate. However, the pilot reported that he had not completed the task. No maintenance records were available for review. The pilot did not have a current medical, and his student pilot certificate had expired. He was taking medication used to treat depression, and he was diabetic. The designer of the gyroplane reported that flight with a nose heavy gyroplane would reduce the amount of nose up control available to the pilot. In addition, loss of airspeed in maneuvering, or a power reduction/loss could also induce a nose down attitude.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain control while maneuvering. A factor was the pilot's lack of experience in type of gyroplane.
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