NYC01LA108
NYC01LA108

On April 27, 2001, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Bensen Gyroplane, N8184, was substantially damaged while maneuvering over an open field near Watertown, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal local flight. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the owner, the day before the accident, he inspected the gyroplane for approximately 3 hours, and ran the engine for approximately 2 hours in preparation of flying the gyroplane. To facilitate transporting the gyroplane to the planned practice area, the owner detached the blades by removing the blade-retaining bolts. The next day, the owner and the pilot transported the gyroplane to the practice area, and reinstalled the blades. The pilot preflighted the gyroplane, and then started the engine. He let the engine idle for approximately 15 minutes, and then taxied to an open field to conduct some taxi work.

The pilot taxied for an hour to get the feel of the gyroplane, and to insure there were no hidden obstacles in the grass. Once comfortable with the taxi characteristics, the pilot did about 20 short flights. The flights were straight ahead and approximately 2 feet in altitude. The pilot then reported to the owner that he was happy with the gyroplane's performance, and was going to attempt some longer flights. On the first flight, the gyroplane reached an altitude of about 4 feet, and traveled approximately 100 yards straight ahead. The gyroplane touched down, made a left turn and taxied back for another flight. On the second flight, the gyroplane reached an altitude of about 4 feet, but after traveling approximately 100 yards, it entered a left bank. The main-rotor contacted the ground, the pilot was ejected, and the gyroplane came to rest. The owner added that all the flights were conducted into the wind, and that the pilot had not flow a gyroplane prior to the day of the accident.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that examined the wreckage, flight control continuity was confirmed. In addition, the inspector identified no preimpact malfunctions or failures that could have influenced the accident

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He did not possess a rotorcraft rating. the pilot's last FAA third class medical application was dated August 7, 2000.

An autopsy was preformed on the pilot, by Dr. Alon Virgilio, M.D. on April 27, 2001, at the Medical Examiners Office in Watertown, New York. A toxicological test was performed on the pilot by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on July 18, 2001.

According to FAA Regulation 14 CFR Part 61.31, to serve as the pilot in command of an aircraft, a person must hold the appropriate category, class, and type rating for the aircraft to be flown, except when operating an aircraft under the authority of an experimental type certificate.

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