NTSB Identification: CEN12FA619
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 10, 2012 in Lansing, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/15/2014
Aircraft: WIGGINS AIR BOSS, registration: N717EW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The accident occurred during a flight test of the experimental gyroplane. A witness reported seeing the gyroplane yaw nose left and roll right shortly after liftoff. The gyroplane then descended briefly before it rolled back to level and entered a climb. The gyroplane climbed to about 100 feet above the ground while continuing to fly on the runway heading before it yawed nose left again, entered a right roll, and descended rapidly into a cornfield south of the runway. Another witness reported that he heard the gyroplane's engine running until the gyroplane impacted terrain. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies were found that would have precluded normal operation of the gyroplane.

The private pilot did not possess a rotorcraft rating; however, federal aviation regulations allow certificated pilots to operate experimental aircraft without an applicable category or class rating. A gyroplane flight instructor reported that he had provided the pilot 1.8 hours of familiarization training in another gyroplane more than 3 months before the accident. He added that the accident pilot told him that he had not flown in over 20 years. Additionally, no record was found indicating that the pilot received any flight training in gyroplanes subsequent to the familiarization training. It is likely that the pilot's overall lack of familiarity with the operation of gyroplanes resulted in his failure to maintain control during the accident flight.

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

The pilot's failure to obtain adequate familiarization with gyroplane operations before attempting a flight test of the recently completed gyroplane, which resulted in his failure to maintain control during the accident flight.

Full narrative available

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