LAX00LA140
LAX00LA140

On March 27, 2000, at 1124 hours Pacific standard time, a Stuart RAF 2000 GTX SE, N60739, became inverted and impacted the runway at Perkins Field Airport, Overton, Nevada. The experimental gyrocopter, operated under 14 CFR Part 91, was destroyed in a post-impact fire. The private pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the local area personal flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the airport a few minutes prior to the accident and was scheduled to terminate there.

One witness had talked to the pilot prior to takeoff. He stated that the pilot had told him this was his maiden flight. The witness watched him take off and immediately saw the gyrocopter porpoising in the air. He watched him leave the airport environment and then make a turn back towards the runway. The porpoising stopped; then it started again. As the gyrocopter flew over the runway the porpoising increased in severity. The witness stated that the pilot reduced power during this portion of the flight. The final porpoise that he saw placed the gyrocopter in an inverted position. The witness then saw the gyrocopter fall inverted to the ground from about 100 feet agl.

Another witness saw the gyrocopter takeoff and noted that the main rotor blades were turning slowly. He didn't think anything of it and continued on with his next stop. As he was departing from his delivery he noted that the gyrocopter was over the airport and then saw it crash.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot's logbook was not available for review by the Safety Board.

A review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Certification records revealed that the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on February 2, 1969, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument.

A review of the FAA Medical Certification records revealed that the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on October 28, 1999, with limitations for near vision. At that time he reported his total flight time to be 5,000 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Review of the gyrocopter logbook disclosed that on June 29, 1998, a Special Airworthiness Certificate was issued. The next condition inspection was due on July 1, 1999.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Clark County Coroner, Las Vegas, Nevada, conducted a post mortem examination of the pilot. The toxicological analysis was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for alcohol, all screened drug substances, Carbon Monoxide, and Cyanide.

According to the spouse, the pilot had flown helicopters for the past 10 years. He had purchased the gyrocopter last year from a private individual in Oregon. The pilot traveled to Oregon to transport the gyrocopter back to Nevada via a trailer. Since that time he had only ground run the engine and conducted taxi runs, he had not flown it. The accident flight was to be the maiden flight.

According to an FAA inspector, the pilot did not hold a rotorcraft category rating.

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