Tuesday, May 14, 2019

AutoGyro Europe MTO Sport, registered to and operated by a private individual as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, N3232Z: Accident occurred October 17, 2015 in Wallisville, Chambers County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
(BFU) Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung; Braunschweig, FN

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

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


Location: Wallisville, TX
Accident Number: EN16LA015
Date & Time: 10/17/2015, 1200 CDT
Registration: N3232Z
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On October 17, 2015, about 1200 central daylight time, a Bobby Martin, AutoGyro MTO Sport gyroplane, N3232Z, impacted terrain in a remote swampy area near Wallisville, Texas. The pilot was not injured, and the gyroplane was substantially damaged. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The gyroplane had departed Chambers County Airport (T00) Anhuac, Texas, about 1130 for a local flight.

The pilot took off to go sightseeing for about 30 to 45 minutes to look at the wetlands. He reported being about 250 to 300 ft. above the ground in straight and level flight when he heard and felt something break loose behind him, near where the engine is located. The gyroplane then developed a severe vibration. The pilot reduced power which reduced the vibration but resulted in the gyroplane descending. He added power again, but the gyroplane vibrated severely and wasn't regaining performance. Seeing that he would not make it back to a suitable landing location, the pilot selected a clear area in the swamp beneath him to land. During the forced landing, the gyroplane's right main landing gear sank into the swamp and the gyroplane rolled over onto its right side causing substantial damage to the main rotor blades and rotor mast.

A postaccident examination of the pusher propeller showed that one of the three carbon fiber blades had split and come apart. Further examination of the propeller blade showed one half of the blade missing for 3/4 of the outboard length, about 1.5 in. missing from the blade tip of the half that remained, two deep cuts in the leading edge, and a fracture at the blade root near the hub. The damage was consistent with an impact to the blade, however, no object that could have caused such damage was located.

Per the aircraft manufacturer, the propeller blade was constructed as two separate halves, bonded together prior to curing, with a foam filled core that bonded to the resin. The manufacturer was aware of two similar cases where a blade split open. Both involved where seat cushions came out of the aircraft and struck the propeller.

No other preaccident anomalies with the gyroplane were found.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 40, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/10/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/01/2015
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 432 hours (Total, all aircraft), 132 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BOBBY MARTIN
Registration: N3232Z
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: M01054
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/01/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1102 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 132 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
Engine Model/Series: 914 UL
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: KEFD, 32 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 26 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1150 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 245°
Lowest Cloud Condition:  / 25000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR): 
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 50°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wallisville, TX (T00)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Wallisville, TX (T00)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1130 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 21 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: 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:  29.801111, -94.709722 (est)

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