FTW02LA110
FTW02LA110

On April 2, 2002, approximately 1120 central standard time, a Thornley 2000 experimental/homebuilt gyrocopter, N248JT, was substantially damaged when it impacted power lines and terrain while maneuvering near Granite Shoals, Texas. The student pilot, sole occupant, received serious injuries. The Subaru powered gyrocopter was owned by a private individual and operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight originated from Granite Shoals at 1100.

In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that he took off to the north to practice takeoffs and landings, with winds light and variable, "and everything seemed to be functioning properly." After takeoff and reaching an altitude of 90 feet agl, the aircraft stopped climbing. The pilot stated "by the time it became clear to me that I should be concerned, I was so close to the departure end of the runway, that I was afraid to attempt a runway landing for fear of overshooting into the wooded field at the north end of the runway." He proceeded northward and initiated a gentle turn to the right, intending to land on the runway to the south; however, the aircraft continued to lose altitude. Ninety degrees into his turn, the pilot reported "I was venturing too far east of the runway to make a safe return to the airport. At this point I made the decision to land to the east on an east-west roadway which bordered the north boundary of the runway". As the pilot "straightened out," the aircraft stopped losing altitude, but was now barely above treetop level. Preparing to land, the pilot said his attention was diverted, as he was looking for cars, overhanging trees, power lines, and TV lines. The pilot further stated that this resulted in the aircraft's wheels impacting the top strand of a power line. The aircraft broke through the power lines and impacted terrain, coming to rest on its left side.

The pilot reported his total time in this make and model aircraft was 162 hours, with 121 hours as pilot in command. He also reported that in the last 90 days, 30 days, and 24 hours respectively, he had accumulated 1 hour of flight time.

According to an FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, the gyrocopter's cockpit area was intact, all rotor blades were bent, and the remaining structure was bent and twisted.

At 1053, the reported weather conditions at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, located approximately 40 miles southeast of the accident site, were wind from 150 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 4,500 feet, temperature 28 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.96 inches of mercury.





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