IAD01LA078
IAD01LA078

On June 16, 2001, at 1130 eastern daylight time, an unregistered homebuilt Dominator gyrocopter, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during an inadvertent takeoff at the Laconia Airport (LCI), Laconia, New Hampshire. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to witness interviews conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot had performed several high speed taxi tests on a closed runway at LCI, to "get a feel for the flight controls." During the last test, the gyrocopter inadvertently became airborne. While the pilot was attempting to land the gyrocopter, it rolled sideways and impacted trees, coming to rest on the bank of a swamp. The witnesses reported that everything "seemed normal" while the gyrocopter was airborne.

The FAA inspector reported that the pilot did not have any flight experience, and had recently purchased the gyrocopter.

Several attempts to obtain the gyrocopter's logbooks and maintenance records were unsuccessful.

Examination of the gyrocopter by the FAA inspector revealed the main rotor blades were bent and twisted in the direction of rotation. All flight controls remained attached to the gyrocopter; however, control continuity could not be confirmed due to the impact damage of the control rods. Engine continuity could also not be confirmed due to the impact damage.

The weather reported at 1151, at an airport 22 miles south of LCI, included winds from 210 degrees at 7 knots, 9 miles visibility, skies clear, temperature 30 degrees Celsius, and dew point 19 degrees Celsius.

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