Monday, December 17, 2018

Hard Landing: SilverLight AR-1 Ranger, N923DJ, accident occurred December 15, 2018 at Chambers County Airport (T00), Anahuac, Texas

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: ANAHUAC, TX
Accident Number: GAA19CA101
Date & Time: 12/15/2018, 1115 CST
Registration: N923DJ
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot of the gyroplane reported that, while practicing simulated engine-out landings, the gyroplane experienced a sudden loss of lift during the flare due to "possible strong wind shear." The gyroplane then descended about 4 ft, and he attempted to recover with full power, but the gyroplane landed hard. Subsequently, the propeller struck the ground, the gyroplane bounced, and the rotor impacted the ground and sheared off.

The gyroplane sustained substantial damage to the main rotor and mast.

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

The pilot reported that the weather at the airport, about the time of the accident, was wind from 300° at 12 knots, gusting to 15 knots. The pilot landed the gyroplane on runway 35. 

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 in gusting crosswind conditions.


Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Crosswind - Effect on operation
Gusts - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Other weather encounter
Loss of lift
Attempted remediation/recovery
Hard landing (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Part(s) separation from AC

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial; Sport Pilot

Age: 63, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Gyroplane; Sport Pilot
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/01/2010
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/11/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3428 hours (Total, all aircraft), 161 hours (Total, this make and model), 1930 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Registration: N923DJ
Model/Series: AR-1
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 0002
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/21/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:  1160 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 195 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912UL/S
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
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: KEFD, 32 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 28 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1050 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 251°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / Terrain-Induced
Wind Direction: 300°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Moderate
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: ANAHUAC, TX (T00)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: ANAHUAC, TX (T00)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information


Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 21 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1900 ft / 300 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Simulated Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None

Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.770556, -94.663056 (est)

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