NTSB Identification: LAX05CA295.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 11, 2005 in Wickenburg, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Ricardo Lopez RAF 2000 GTXSE, registration: N282SL
Injuries: 2 Minor.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The gyrocopter collided with terrain and rolled over during takeoff. The pilot departed his home field with a 240-pound passenger and full load of fuel. The performance was not good, but the flight was successful. He landed on runway 05 at the destination airport uneventfully. He departed on runway 05 in no wind conditions, and flew in the local area for an hour. When he returned for landing, other aircraft in the pattern were using runway 23, which had a left 90-degree crosswind. He filled the gyrocopter with fuel, and taxied to runway 23. He started to take off and noted that the nose wasn't light. He pulled back on the control stick and the gyrocopter popped up off the ground. He thought that he was behind the power curve and nosed over to gain airspeed. He did gain some airspeed, but the gyrocopter settled to the ground. He pulled back on the control stick to prevent landing on the nose gear. The gyrocopter lost airspeed and rotor speed. It was right of centerline when a gust of wind pushed it forward and to the right. The pilot said that he felt that if he had taken off downhill, the accident would not have happened, and he would have had adequate power and control movement to maintain control. He thought that performance would have been drastically better if he had added 6 gallons of fuel instead of 14 gallons. He felt that he failed to control the gyrocopter and did not consider the problems associated with marginal performance or ways to increase that performance. The pilot said there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to obtain and maintain an adequate airspeed and rotor speed during takeoff. Full narrative available
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