Saturday, July 16, 2016

Toevs Titanium Explorer autogyro, N556XT: Fatal accident occurred July 15, 2016 in Whitewater, Butler County, Kansas

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Wichita FSDO-64

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 15, 2016 in Whitewater, KS
Aircraft: Toevs Titanium Explorer, registration: N556XT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 15, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, an amateur-built Toevs Titanium Explorer autogyro, N556XT, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Whitewater, Kansas. A post impact fire ensued. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight which originated from Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, about 1800.

According to witnesses interviewed by the Kansas Highway Patrol, the autogyro started a turn, the nose pitched up, and then it descended and impacted trees. At least one witness described hearing engine noise. The autogyro impacted the ground and was destroyed by the post impact fire.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who traveled to the accident site, the autogyro impacted the ground in a nose low attitude.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

The aircraft owned by James Toevs is pictured here on an experimental flying blog earlier this year.

BUTLER COUNTY – Emergency officials confirm that a plane crash has take the life of a Whitewater man. Although his identity has not been released, the crash of the small gyroplane happened just after 7:30 Friday evening.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 61 year old James Toevs was observed by witnesses making a steep climb after taking off in his plane. Shortly after, things went wrong when the aircraft pitched over and crashed.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet remembered Toevs as a longtime fixture in the area.

“I went to school with Jim. He was a great guy that grew up in this area.” Herzet recalled Saturday. “He died doing exactly what he loved, according to his wife.”

The crash site was located in the 13700 block of North 11oth Street, which put the accident just four miles northeast of the Whitewater area.

In addition to the Butler County authorities working the accident, extra help was brought in from nearby Harvey County as well.


BUTLER COUNTY – A Kansas man died in a an accident just after 7p.m. on Friday in Butler County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2015 Gyrocopter piloted by James L. Toevs, 61, Whitewater, was flying northeast of Whitewater.

The rotorcraft was observed making a steep climb. It pitched over and then crashed.

Toevs was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to the Sedgwick County Forensics Center.

The accident remains under investigation.

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet confirms one person died in a plane crash northeast of Whitewater Friday evening. 

Butler County deputies were called to the crash around 7:00 p.m. Friday, when deputies arrived, they found a gyroplane on fire. 

Herzet said a 61-year-old man was pronounced dead on the scene, no one else was on board at the time.

Herzet said the man took off from his property, no word on what caused the crash. 

The Kansas Highway Patrol and the FAA are assisting in the investigation.

Story and video:

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -  Crews are working the scene of a fatal gyroplane crash in rural Butler County.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said a 61-year-old man who lived in the area was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The small aircraft went down just before 7 p.m. in a field in the 13700 block of NW 110th St. That's about 4 miles northeast of Whitewater.

Harvey County emergency and medical crews are also working this incident. 

Story and video:

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