Sunday, April 14, 2019

Calidus AutoGyro, registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, N623AG: Accident occurred July 07, 2018 at Tacoma Narrows Airport (KTIW), Pierce County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Washington

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


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

http://registry.faa.gov/N623AG

Location: Tacoma, WA
Accident Number: WPR18LA190
Date & Time: 07/07/2018, 1300 PDT
Registration: N623AG
Aircraft: Autogyro CALIDUS
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On July 7, 2018, about 1300 Pacific daylight time an Autogyro, Calidus, gyrocopter, N623AG, struck the runway shortly after takeoff at the Tacoma Narrows airport (TIW), Tacoma, Washington. The commercial pilot and the passenger received minor injuries. The gyrocopter received substantial damage to the rotor system, and fuselage. The gyrocopter was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated he had received clearance from the tower for takeoff on runway 17. He taxied onto the runway and reported to the tower he would need about 30 seconds to be ready for takeoff. While on the runway he had difficulty getting the pre-rotator to engage with the rotor ring gear. The pilot said that the tower controller transmitted to him and stated, "that sure is a long 30 seconds." The pilot cancelled his takeoff clearance and taxied off the runway to a run up area where he successfully engaged the pre-rotator to the rotor ring gear. He then requested and received clearance from the tower controller to depart from runway 17. He taxied onto the runway, achieved 200 RPM on the rotor and began his takeoff roll. The pilot stated that he recalled pulling the control stick aft while the gyrocopter was accelerating down the runway. During the takeoff roll the gyrocopter suddenly became airborne, began shaking violently, descended, and struck the runway where it then skidded approximately 100 ft, exited the left side of the runway and came to rest on its left side. The pilot and passenger egressed with the help of witnesses.

According to a witness, the gyrocopter began the takeoff roll with the rotor parallel with the runway. He observed the rotor tilt back to what appeared to be a 45° angle. The gyrocopter then climbed, rolled onto its side, struck the ground, then slid off the runway.

In an interview with the pilot's flight instructor, who trained the pilot in the gyrocopter, she explained the proper sequence of events for getting the gyrocopter ready for takeoff. She stated when engaging the pre-rotator, it is essential to keep the control stick fully forward to protect the airframe from the slow spinning rotor. A fully forward control stick would place the rotor level to the ground. The rotor needs the 200 RPM to protect the fuselage when the control stick is then moved fully aft for the takeoff roll. She explained that beginning the takeoff roll with a level rotor would allow the gyrocopter to accelerate quickly and build undesirable speed. Any attempt to then bring the control stick back, which tilts the rotor aft, would cause the gyrocopter to go straight up. She stated pilots may forget to pull the control stick fully aft after pre-rotating the rotor to 200 RPM. This creates the potential for takeoff rolls with the control stick not fully aft and the rotor level with the ground.

A review of the Owner's Manual revealed a warning that states "Prior to releasing the wheel brake, make sure that the control stick is fully aft, if headwind components allows. A takeoff run with a flat rotor system may have fatal consequences."

During an examination of the gyrocopter, after the accident, it was observed the aft seat had a control stick installed. The Owner's Manual states "the aft control stick must be removed unless the passenger seat is occupied by a qualified flight instructor".

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private; Sport Pilot
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/27/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/28/2016
Flight Time:   682 hours (Total, all aircraft), 32 hours (Total, this make and model), 569 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 24 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Autogyro
Registration: N623AG
Model/Series: CALIDUS No Series
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: US-C00491
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2 
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/01/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 992 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 31 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 56 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 914 UL2-01
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTIW, 315 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 174°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1200 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Severe
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Tacoma, WA (KTIW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Tacoma, WA (KTIW)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1300 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Tacoma Narrows (TIW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 294 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5002 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 47.272500, -122.576667 (est)

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