Monday, November 20, 2017

AutoGyro Cavalon, N953LS: Accident occurred November 18, 2017 at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (KCGZ), Pinal County, Arizona

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
http://registry.faa.gov/N953LS

Location: Casa Grande, AZ
Accident Number: GAA18CA049
Date & Time: 11/18/2017, 1745 MST
Registration: N953LS
Aircraft: JOHN ROSCOE AUTOGYRO CAVALON
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis


The pilot reported that, during landing, the right wheel touched down first on the runway and the gyroplane veered to the right. He added that, the "aircraft bounced from one wheel to the other" multiple times until the main rotor blade struck the runway. The gyroplane then rolled to the right, slid off the runway and came to rest on its left side. A post-crash fire ignited in the engine compartment and consumed the gyroplane.

The gyroplane was destroyed.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the gyroplane that would have precluded normal operation. 


Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in loss of directional control and a subsequent runway excursion.

Findings

Aircraft
Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Dragged wing/rotor/float/other

Landing-landing roll
Runway excursion

Landing
Roll over

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 300 hours (Total, all aircraft), 200 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: JOHN ROSCOE
Registration: N953LS
Model/Series: AUTOGYRO CAVALON NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: V00110
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/18/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 990 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 241 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 914
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCHD, 1243 ft msl
Observation Time: 0047 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 353°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / -2°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 300°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: SAN MANUEL, AZ (E77)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Casa Grande, AZ (CGZ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1620 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: CASA GRANDE MUNI (CGZ)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1464 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 05
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5200 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  32.953611, -111.769444 (est)




Preventing Similar Accidents

Stay Centered: Preventing Loss of Control During Landing

Loss of control during landing is one of the leading causes of general aviation accidents and is often attributed to operational issues. Although most loss of control during landing accidents do not result in serious injuries, they typically require extensive airplane repairs and may involve potential damage to nearby objects such as fences, signs, and lighting.

Often, wind plays a role in these accidents. Landing in a crosswind presents challenges for pilots of all experience levels. Other wind conditions, such as gusting wind, tailwind, variable wind, or wind shifts, can also interfere with pilots’ abilities to land the airplane and maintain directional control.

What can pilots do?

Evaluate your mental and physical fitness before each flight using the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “I'M SAFE Checklist." Being emotionally and physically ready will help you stay alert and potentially avoid common and preventable loss of control during landing accidents.

Check wind conditions and forecasts often. Take time during every approach briefing to fully understand the wind conditions. Use simple rules of thumb to help (for example, if the wind direction is 30 degrees off the runway heading, the crosswind component will be half of the total wind velocity).

Know your limitations and those of the airplane you are flying. Stay current and practice landings on different runways and during various wind conditions. If possible, practice with a flight instructor on board who can provide useful feedback and techniques for maintaining and improving your landing procedures.

Prepare early to perform a go around if the approach is not stabilized and does not go as planned or if you do not feel comfortable with the landing. Once you are airborne and stable again, you can decide to attempt to land again, reassess your landing runway, or land at an alternate airport. Incorporate go-around procedures into your recurrent training.

During landing, stay aligned with the centerline. Any misalignment reduces the time available to react if an unexpected event such as a wind gust or a tire blowout occurs.

Do not allow the airplane to touch down in a drift or in a crab. For airplanes with tricycle landing gear, do not allow the nosewheel to touch down first.

Maintain positive control of the airplane throughout the landing and be alert for directional control difficulties immediately upon and after touchdown. A loss of directional control can lead to a nose-over or ground loop, which can cause the airplane to tip or lean enough for the wing tip to contact the ground.

Stay mentally focused throughout the landing roll and taxi. During landing, avoid distractions, such as conversations with passengers or setting radio frequencies.

Interested in More Information?

The FAA’s “Airplane Flying Handbook” (FAA-H-8083-3B), chapter 8, “Approaches and Landings,” provides guidance about how to conduct crosswind approaches and landings and discusses maximum safe crosswind velocities. The handbook can be accessed from the FAA’s website (www.faa.gov).

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) provides access to online training courses, seminars, and webinars as part of the FAA’s “WINGS—Pilot Proficiency Program.” This program includes targeted flight training designed to help pilots develop the knowledge and skills needed to achieve flight proficiency and to assess and mitigate the risks associated with the most common causes of accidents, including loss of directional control. The courses listed below can be accessed from the FAASTeam website (www.faasafety.gov).

Avoiding Loss of Control
Maneuvering: Approach and Landing
Normal Approach and Landing
Takeoffs, Landings, and Aircraft Control

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute offers several interactive courses, presentations, publications, and other safety resources that can be accessed from its website (www.aopa.org/asf/).

The NTSB’s Aviation Information Resources web page, www.ntsb.gov/air, provides convenient access to NTSB aviation safety products.


The NTSB presents this information to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Note that this should not be considered guidance from the regulator, nor does this supersede existing FAA Regulations (FARs).

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