ATL00LA057
ATL00LA057

On May 26, 2000, about 1115 eastern daylight time, a John Thomas Cloud Dancer 2 experimental gyroplane, N6314T, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during takeoff roll at Macon County Airport in Franklin, North Carolina. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at 1110.

According to the pilot, he was practicing touch and go landings on runway 7. He maintained a final approach speed of 60 mph (the normal approach speed for the make and model of gyroplane). After touching down, he applied full power for takeoff and the gyroplane began to "shimmy." The gyroplane yawed to the left and departed the runway into the grass, then rolled over onto its left side.

According to a witness, he observed the gyroplane touch down "without having the nose wheel straight." He stated that "the pilot then jerked the nose high, added power, the nose went higher... the rotor then caught the ground, the aircraft jerked toward the left and crashed off the runway. The aircraft came to rest on its left side with the tailboom's square tubing broken." The witness was an acquaintance of the pilot, and to the best of his knowledge, this was the first touch and go landing the pilot had ever performed in the gyroplane.

According to an engineering representative with Rotory Air Force Marketing, Inc., the kit manufacturer of the gyroplane, while performing a touch and go landing, the gyroplane is unstable while on the main wheels due to the inertia of the rotor system. To maintain stability, the gyroplane should not have any forward momentum during landing and the nose wheel should be straightened out prior to touching down.

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