Monday, March 05, 2018

AutoGyro Calidus, N221YT: Fatal accident occurred March 05, 2018 at Beaufort County Airport (KARW), South Carolina

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Emerald Air of SC LLC: 

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report

Location: Beaufort, SC
Accident Number: ERA18LA095
Date & Time: 03/05/2018, 0935 EST
Registration: N221YT
Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under:Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 5, 2018, about 0935 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Autogyro Calidus gyroplane, N221YT, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the initial climb from Beaufort County Airport (ARW), Beaufort, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The gyroplane was operated by the private pilot as a local personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed ARW about 0932.

According to a witness that worked at the airport, the pilot of the gyroplane made a radio transmission on the common traffic advisory frequency that he was taking off on runway 25. The witness observed the gyroplane takeoff and climb to about 75 ft above ground level about halfway down the 3,434-ft-long runway. The gyroplane was climbing slowly, and everything appeared normal. The witness did not continue to look at the gyroplane; however, the pilot made another routine transmission at 0933. At 0937, the witness received a telephone call that the gyroplane had crashed near the departure end of runway 25 at 0935. The caller reported to the witness that the gyroplane was low over a field when it rolled inverted and impacted a marsh.

Another witness was driving his car near the departure end of runway 25. He stated that the gyroplane climbed from the runway and flew over a road at the departure end. At that time, it appeared to be flying straight. About 10 seconds later, the gyroplane reversed direction and seemed to be flying back toward the departure end of the runway. The gyroplane was flying erratically and looked like it was doing "tricks." Specifically, the nose pitched up, down, left and right. It then flew over the road again in a reverse direction and was nearing the runway when the nose pitched up and the gyroplane rolled inverted and impacted the ground.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that it came to rest on its right side, north of the departure end of runway 25. There was no debris path noted and the fiberglass cockpit and engine enclosures were destroyed. The nose section, with nose landing gear attached, had separated from the fuselage, but all associated cables remained attached. The main landing gear was partially collapsed. The tailboom was twisted and canted to the left of the fuselage, with its horizontal stabilizer bent upward. All three propeller blades were fractured. One main rotor blade separated from the hub. The other main rotor blade remained attached to the hub; however, the outer section of that blade separated. One fuel tank was breached during impact and fuel had leaked out. The other fuel tank remained intact and about 5 gallons of fuel was drained from that tank. No water or other contamination appeared in the fuel. The engine remained intact and attached to its mounts.

Two FAA inspectors examined the wreckage on a second occasion, after it was recovered to a hangar. Due to the disposition of the wreckage, they were able to rotate the propeller approximately 90°. No binding was noted and continuity through the engine was observed. The gyroplane's flight controls consisted of push-pull tubes that sustained impact damage; however, no evidence of a lack of flight control continuity was observed.

The two-seat tandem, fixed tricycle gear, composite gyroplane was assembled from a kit and issued an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate in 2015. It was powered by a Rotax 912ULS, 100-horsepower engine, equipped with an HTC three-blade, ground adjustable, composite pusher propeller and two-blade aluminum rotor. Review of the maintenance records revealed that the gyroplane's most recent condition inspection was completed on April 22, 2017. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 183.5 total hours of operation.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for gyroplane single-engine land and instrument airline. He also held a sport pilot certificate. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 13, 2017. At that time, he reported 921 total hours of flight experience. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accrued about 944 total hours of flight experience at the time of the accident; of which, about 91 hours were in the accident gyroplane. The pilot had flown about 6 hours during the 30-day period preceding the accident and all those hours were in the accident gyroplane. He flew 9 hours during the 90-day period preceding the accident and all but 1 of those hours were in the accident gyroplane.

The recorded weather at ARW, at 0935, was: wind from 310° at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clear sky; temperature 12° C; dew point 4° C; altimeter 30.13 inches of mercury. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer:ROBERT SNYDER 
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Amateur Built:Yes 
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:Visual Conditions 
Condition of Light:Day 
Observation Facility, Elevation: ARW, 9 ft msl
Observation Time:0935 EST 
Distance from Accident Site:0 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point:12°C / 4°C 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 310°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Beaufort, SC (ARW)
Destination: Beaufort, SC (ARW)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  32.412222, -80.634444 (est)

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

Sam Dollenmeier

A 69-year-old St. Helena Island man died Monday morning after the AutoGyro Calidus he was flying crashed on Lady’s Island.

Sam Dollenmeier died at Beaufort Memorial Hospital just before noon, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said. 

Dollenmeier was flying a AutoGyro Calidus when the aircraft crashed at Beaufort County Airport at about 9:40 a.m.

A forensic autopsy at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston on Tuesday will determine the cause and manner of Dollenmeier’s death, Allen said.

National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bob Bromage said.

Sheriff’s deputies secured the crash scene and the airport is temporarily closed to traffic, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the crash, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said.

The kit-built gyroplane is known for being stable in high winds and capable of cross country trips, said Chris Lord, a Florida-based pilot who is among a handful of examiners in the country who can issue gyroplane pilot licenses.

Dollenmeier had logged more than 250 hours in gyroplanes, said Lord, who has visited Beaufort County and flown with Dollenmeier.

Pilots must be licensed and the aircraft registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Dollenmeier held a private pilot license with an instrument rating to fly an airplane and a sport pilot license to fly a gyroplane, Lord said.

“He was more than capable as a pilot,” Lord said.

Earning a license requires a minimum of 20 hours of work but usually requires about 60 hours, Lord said, including an Federal Aviation Administration knowledge test, training solo and with an instructor and a practical test.

Gyroplanes are generally used for recreation and typically fly 500 to 1,500 feet. But the aircraft can reach altitudes as high as 26,000 feet, travel as fast as about 120 mph and slower than 20 mph.

Unlike helicopters, gyrocopters can’t land vertically and need a runway.

“We can do about 80 percent of what a helicopter can do for about 10 percent of the cost,” said Lord, who has 3,000 hours of flight time in the aircraft.

The AutoGyro Calidus, the model the Federal Aviation Administration said crashed on Lady’s Island, is imported from Germany and built by the owners in Maryland, Lord said.

Once kits are built, pilots log 40 hours of flight time with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the craft is in good working order.

After that, pilots can fly anywhere in the country.

Original article can be found here ➤

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WTOC) - The pilot involved in a AutoGyro Calidus crash at Beaufort County airport Monday morning has died, deputies say. 

The Beaufort County Coroner's Office identified the pilot as Ed Dollenmeier, 69, of St. Helena Island. He was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

EMS took Dollenmeier to Beaufort Memorial Hospital where he died a few hours after the crash.

"An AutoGyro Calidus crashed on the north end of Runway 7 at the Beaufort County Airport, Beaufort, today at 9:40 a.m," FAA spokesperson Arlene Salac said. 

Beaufort County Sheriff's Capt. Bob Bromage said the pilot was performing "touch and go" exercises, in which the pilot touches the ground and immediately takes off again, when the crash occurred. 

A large tow truck was called in to lift the mangled copter from the runway.  The aircraft will be examined by federal investigators who hope to figure out what happened. 

The airport remains closed until it gets clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to reopen, officials said. Photos show multiple emergency vehicles of the scene of the crash. 

The airport itself is located on Lady's Island and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

LADY'S ISLAND, SC (WJCL) — Beaufort County Coroner Edward Allen says the pilot of the gyrocopter that crashed at the Beaufort County Airport Monday morning has died.

Allen identified the victim as Sam Dollenmeier, 69, of St. Helena Island.

The airport remains closed at this hour while the crash is investigated by federal authorities.

The Beaufort County Airport is temporarily closed to air traffic after a AutoGyro Calidus crashed Monday morning.

The aircraft crashed on the runway a little before 10 a.m.

The pilot, who was the only occupant on board, was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

His name and condition have not been released.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office tells WJCL 22 News that deputies have the scene secured while investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration come in from Columbia. The National Transportation Safety Board is also responding.

Original article can be found here ➤

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -  A man died in a AutoGyro Calidus crash at the Beaufort County Airport on Monday morning. 

Sam Dollenmeier, 69, died just before noon at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. He was from St. Helena Island. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting a full investigation into the crash. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, an AutoGyro Calidus crashed on the north end of Runway 7 at about 9:40 a.m. on Monday.

Right now, the scene of the crash has been secured by Sheriff's Office deputies, who are awaiting Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials. The airport has been temporarily closed to air traffic.

Original article can be found here ➤

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — The pilot involved in a AutoGyro Calidus crash Monday morning has died, according to the Beaufort County Coroner. 69-year-old Sam Dollenmeier of St. Helena Island died just before noon today at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Dollenmeier was piloting a AutoGyro Calidus when he crashed at the Beaufort County Airport on Lady’s Island. The crash occurred around 9:40 a.m. on the north end of Runway 7.  The airport remains temporarily closed to air traffic.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office are on the scene.  Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting a full investigation into the crash.  A forensic autopsy will be performed Tuesday to determine the cause and manner of Dollenmeier’s death.

Original article can be found here ➤ 

Samuel Dollenmeier
St. Helena Island, SC

It is with much sorrow that we announce the sudden passing of Samuel Dollenmeier, beloved husband for almost 40 years of Christine A. "Chris" Dollenmeier, of St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Sam passed away on Monday, March 5, 2018 at the age of 69. Sam was born on December 28, 1948 in Weisslingen, Zuerich, Switzerland. He is the son of the late Hans Dollenmeier and Maria Schnyder Dollenmeier. 

Surviving in addition to his treasured wife, Chris: one daughter, Danja T. Eaves; one step-daughter, Leslie P. Fuchs; one step son, Bret A. Jackson; and two brothers, Herbert and Peter Dollenmeier. Also surviving are ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Sam was a wise and generous man who shared a dual citizenship with Switzerland and the United States. He completed his MBA jointly with Furman and Clemson University, and astutely built a successful business in the interior design industry. As a husband and father, he was a steady provider; faithful, devoted, fair, pushed us all to excellence, and the steadfast patriarch who deeply loved his family. As a brother, he was deeply loyal and caring. As a friend, he was warm and kind, generous with laughter and equally with wit and wisdom. Sam was gifted with creativity and pursued excellence in all that he did. He was a gute Mensch. 

Sam was very passionate about flying. He loved the machines and the community that went along with aviation. He was also very skilled in cooking and loved to share his culinary tastes with anyone willing to share a moment with him. Sam was well traveled and enjoyed greatly to see and experience the different sights the world offered. His family was his greatest passion. He was devoted to his brothers who lived abroad in Switzerland and Jamaica, as well as all his extended family and relations. 

Samuel Dollenmeir was deeply loved and respected by his family and friends. Auf Wiedersein, Opie Sam! You are gone for now, but never from our hearts and memories. 

The Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 11:00 am at Saint Peter's Catholic Church on Lady's Island. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested you make a donation to the charity of your choice.

Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.

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