On May 5, 2002, at 1345 Pacific daylight time, a Sierra RAF 2000 GTX-SE, N256SB, experienced rotor contact with the ground and the vertical fin during takeoff at the Lompoc, California, airport. The private-certificated pilot and one passenger were not injured. The experimental, amateur-built, gyrocopter was substantially damaged. The gyrocopter was being operated by the owner under 14 CFR Part 91 and was departing for a local area personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The winds were reported ast 270 degrees at 14 knots when the accident occurred. The takeoff was conducted on runway 25. According to the pilot, he increased power to initiate takeoff with a corresponding increase in rotor speed from 208 rpm to above 212 rpm. The aircraft began to roll about 5 mph with the increase in power. As the aircraft lifted off, it started to "lean to the right" and he took corrective action with left stick input that for a half a second was effective. However, the aircraft conitnued in a right turn, despite the control input. The pilot reported that the control stick seemed to be stuck or frozen in place, and he was not able to move the stick to the left. The aircraft continued in the right turn, until the rotor blades struck the ground. The aircraft slid off the right, and came to rest along the right side of the runway.