SEA01LA051
SEA01LA051

On February 19, 2001, approximately 1210 Pacific standard time, a homebuilt Landry Gyrobee (gyroplane), N392JL, registered to and being flown by a commercial pilot was substantially damaged during a loss of control and rollover while conducting "crow-hopping" maneuvers on runway 33 at the Chehalis-Centralia airport, Chehalis, Washington. The pilot was uninjured. No flight plan had been filed and visual meteorological conditions existed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91, and was local in nature.

The pilot reported that about half way down the 5,000 foot long runway, and while "wheel balancing" at 20-25 miles per hour, he increased power to initiate a "crow-hop" maneuver. As he gradually increased power, the gyroplane started to become airborne and also began a right drift, which the pilot believed was from a left crosswind. The pilot reported that he "...adjusted the cyclic control to arrest the right drift..." and that "...as the aircraft left the surface of the runway and became airborne, it immediately banked and drifted to the right...." He further reported "...in attempting to adjust the cyclic control to level the aircraft, I either failed to move the control adequately, or I mistakenly moved it in the wrong direction...." The gyroplane's right wheel then began dragging on the runway surface and the rotor blades began to strike the ground. The gyroplane then rolled over coming to rest along the right edge of the runway.

The pilot reported that "...at the time of the accident, the windsock indicated prevailing winds were more or less aligned with the runway at less than 10 knots..." and believed "...the winds had a slight gusty component...." Winds at Toledo-Winlock airport at 1154 PST, 14 nautical miles southeast of Chehalis were reported as 320 degrees magnetic at four knots.

The pilot, who maintained a commercial pilot certificate, was rated in helicopters both VFR and IFR, and had no reported fixed wing flight time. He reported that his total flight experience of 918 hours was in rotorcraft vehicles and that he had a total of 15 hours in the accident aircraft make.

Additionally, the pilot reported that "...the accident aircraft was fitted with an overhead cyclic control stick connected directly to the rotor head assembly..." and that "...this type of direct cyclic control can be described as having "reverse" control movements when compared to conventional cyclic control systems..." (e.g., to move the gyroplane right the pilot applies left cyclic).

The majority of the pilot's flight experience was in "conventionally" controlled rotorcraft and he believed that he "...may have reverted back to [the] deeply imbedded control reflexes and moved the cyclic control in the wrong direction..." (refer to attached statements by the pilot). The pilot reported no mechanical malfunction with the gyroplane.

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