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On October 23, 2000, approximately 1650 Pacific daylight time, a Wildman Adventurer gyroplane, N567AW, registered to and being flown by a private pilot was destroyed during a collision with terrain following a loss of control in flight approximately five nautical miles south of Yelm, Washington. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and there was a post-crash fire. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight, which was personal and was operated under 14CFR91, originated from the Flying B airstrip near the accident site.
A witness to the accident reported that he "...observed the (listed) aircraft flying over his residence on 148th Ave...," and that "...he then waved at the pilot at which time the pilot waived back at him...." He continued, reporting that "...seconds later he observed the rear of the gyroplane swaying back and forth and parts falling off the rear portion of the aircraft...," and that "...the aircraft then went straight down and crashed into the woods..." (extracted from Thurston County Sheriff's Office report, case #: 00-38316-10). The witness estimated that the aircraft was flying approximately 300 feet above ground and headed south when it crashed.
The pilot's total flight experience, as reported at his last medical examination conducted July 26, 2000, was 250 hours. He held both a helicopter and gyroplane rating. The distribution of flight time between the two types was not known. He was issued a private pilot certificate on January 8, 1993.
A videotape of N567AW made on October 21, 2000, was reviewed. The videotape showed the gyroplane as having no horizontal stabilizer (refer to graphic image 01). An acquaintance of the gyroplane owner reported that the owner had first acquired the gyroplane without a horizontal stabilizer. He reported that the owner later installed a stabilizer and then subsequently removed it. No aircraft logs were available for review.
The plane of the main rotor blades is normally set to provide substantial clearance with both the propeller disk and the rudder panel (refer to graphic image 01). Impingement of the main rotor disk into the propeller disk or rudder requires significant downward flexing of the main rotor blades.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administrations Flight Standards District Office in Renton, Washington, conducted the on-site examination of the wreckage on October 24, 2000. He reported that the wreckage was confined to a relatively small area with the exception of a diagonal section from the upper portion of the rudder, and one of the propeller's composite blades. These two items were located approximately 150 to 200 feet from the ground impact site. He further reported that he was able to establish control continuity and that all major parts of the aircraft were identified at the site. The aircraft crashed in a wooded area slightly less than one mile south of the center of the Flying B airstrip (refer to CHART I). A post-crash fire consumed much of the aircraft.
The top of the rudder panel was observed to have been separated along a diagonal line progressing from the upper-forward edge to the trailing edge of the control surface (refer to photographs 1 and 2). The line measured approximately 25 degrees below the edge of the top of the rudder panel. A second abrasive type mark was noted at the very top-aft portion of the rudder panel.
The composite propeller blade section displayed impact damage near the tip (within several inches of the outboard termination of the metal blade abrasion strip) and was separated from the remainder of the blade approximately one foot inboard from the propeller blade tip (refer to photograph 3).
A prominent "V" shaped cut was observed on one of the main rotor blades. The cut was observed to originate at the trailing edge and progress through approximately 50% of the blade chord toward the leading edge. The interior edges of the cut displayed a black material transfer similar to the black composite material from the propeller (refer to photographs 4 and 5).
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Emmanuel Q. Lacsina, M.D., conducted post-mortem examination of the pilot at the facilities of the Thurston County Morgue, Olympia, Washington, on October 25, 2000, (report number 00-1014-10).
The FAA's Toxicology Accident and Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological evaluation of samples from the pilot. All findings were negative (refer to attached Toxicology report).