NTSB Identification: ERA10CA270
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 17, 2010 in Hopkinsville, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: Healy RAF 2000, registration: N397MK
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

According to the pilot, he was taking off from runway 26 on the second of two gyroplane test flights following tracking adjustments to the main rotor blades. The first test flight was uneventful. During the takeoff roll on the second test flight, a gust of wind raised the gyroplane’s left wheel off the ground. With the rotors not yet up to speed, the pilot corrected with right cyclic to “force the wheel down,” and left pedal to “maintain straight ground track.” However, he “added too much pedal and [the gyroplane began] to swerve erratically on the runway.” The pilot cut engine power, but then the gyroplane encountered a second gust of wind, which resulted in another roll. The advancing main rotor blade struck the ground, “catapulting” the gyroplane off the runway. The gyroplane came to rest on its left side facing opposite the direction of travel, and the pilot sustained serious injuries. The gyroplane’s main rotor blades and empennage were substantially damaged. No mechanical malfunctions or failures were reported by the pilot. The pilot reported winds from 290 degrees true at 7 knots, gusting to 14 knots.

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

The pilot’s overcompensation for gusting wind conditions during the takeoff roll, which resulted in a loss of control.

Full narrative available

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