NTSB Identification: ERA12LA386
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 08, 2012 in Wrens, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2013
Aircraft: BOWEN CHRISTOPHER W DOGBEE, registration: N1481
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 student pilot/owner of the accident gyroplane was the lead in a flight of two gyroplanes that had departed the airport traffic pattern to fly over nearby fields. The pilot in the second gyroplane stated that, less than 1 mile from the airport, he observed the accident gyroplane begin a smooth, descending left turn that continued until ground impact. The second pilot did not observe any anomalies with the accident gyroplane nor receive any radio transmissions indicating a problem before seeing the turn and impact. A witness located on a road near the accident site stated that the accident gyroplane was approaching and appeared to be level with a set of overhead lines when it began a steep left turn and descended into the ground. While it could not be determined if the turn was initiated as an evasive maneuver, the pilot’s decision to fly at low altitude increased the likelihood that such a maneuver would be necessary and provided little room for error in the event that the gyroplane entered an unusual attitude or the pilot experience a momentary distraction. Postaccident examination of the gyroplane revealed extensive fire damage that precluded the establishment of flight control continuity. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller flange and continuity was confirmed to each of the two cylinders. Review of postaccident autopsy and toxicology testing results showed no evidence of any preexisting condition that would have resulted in the pilot’s incapacitation.

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

The pilot’s loss of control during a low-altitude maneuver for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to fly at low altitude.

Full narrative available

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