ATL02LA064
ATL02LA064

On March 16, 2002, at 1245 eastern standard time, a Robert Kopp, Gyro-Kopp-ter Mosquito Hawk, experimental gyrocopter, N6158F, registered to and owned by a student pilot, collided with terrain on departure from a private airstrip in Citra, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, and the student pilot received fatal injuries. The flight originated from the private strip at Citra, Florida, at 1245.

According to witnesses, they saw the gyrocopter takeoff from the runway. After the witnesses returned home, they reported hearing a "strange noise" followed by an apparent reduction in power. When they returned outside, they did not see the gyrocopter. They then called the local sheriffs department and reported what happened. The gyrocopter was found in wooded area adjacent to the runway.

The student pilot's flight time could not be determine because logbooks were never recovered. The student pilot held a third class medical certificate, dated September 24, 2001 with a restriction for corrective lenses.

The home built Gyro-Kopp-Ter, N6158F, was owned and operated by the pilot. A Subaru engine powered the Gyro-Kopp-Ter, and the aircraft logbooks were not recovered at the time of the examination.

The Gainesville, Florida, 1153 surface observation, reported few clouds, visibility 8 statute miles, wind 220 degrees at 7 knots. The altimeter setting was 30.16, temperature 28, dewpoint 18.

The Paniola Air Ranch Airport has one runway: 01/19. At the time of the accident runway 01 was the active runway.

Examination of the gyrocopter revealed continuity of all flight controls. The pusher propeller was broken and the rotor blades were bent. The rudder assembly was found hanging by the control cables. No mechanical malfunctions were reported prior to the flight. Examination of the gyrocopter
failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure.

Valerie J. Rao, M.D, of the District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, Citrus, Hernando, and Lake Marion & Sumter Counties performed the postmortem examination of the pilot on March 18, 2002. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed the forensic toxicology. The tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs and alcohol.

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