NTSB Identification: MIA02LA054.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 26, 2002 in Immokalee, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Quitzau, Carl Vortex, registration: None
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 accident occurred during the third flight of the day, and according to a witness, before beginning the first flight of the day, the accident pilot installed the main rotor blades. The first flight lasted approximately 10 minutes. After landing, the accident pilot reported to the witness that he encountered, "stick shake" during the flight. The accident pilot adjusted the main rotor blades then departed on the second flight which lasted approximately 20 minutes. The witness reported that the accident pilot advised with words to the effect that during the second flight, the gyroplane was flying a little better. The accident pilot performed a slight adjustment to the main rotor blades and fueled the fuel tank to about 3/4 capacity. The flight then departed, returned, and when flying approximately 50 feet above ground level, at an estimated airspeed of between 55 and 60 mph; the pilot's feet were observed outside the cockpit. When the flight was near the witness' position, the gyroplane began a gradual yaw to the left. The gyroplane then rolled left to an inverted position, pitched nose down, and impacted the ground. The witness reported he did not hear a change in engine sound from the time the gyrocraft was flying near his position to the time the gyrocraft began yawing and he did not perceive an engine malfunction. The gyroplane was not registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), though the designer reported it should have been registered with the FAA. The gyroplane impacted a grassy area near the approach end of runway 36 between the runway and taxiway on a heading of 030 degrees, traveled 6 feet, and came to rest 180 degrees from the initial impact heading. Ground scars from both rotor blades were observed. Two of the three propeller blades were found separated, the third propeller blade remained secured. Examination of the gyroplane following recovery by the FAA inspector-in-charge (FAA-IIC) revealed evidence that the gyroplane impacted the ground with the nose; there was no evidence of preimpact mechanical failure. Examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The gyroplane had been operated for 3.3 hours since new at the time of the accident.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain directional control of the gyroplane resulting in the in-flight loss of control and subsequent in-flight collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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