Friday, July 12, 2019

American Ranger 1 AR1, N14968: Fatal accident occurred July 11, 2019 near Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Clay County, Minnesota

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hawley, MN
Accident Number: CEN19FA218
Date & Time: 07/11/2019, 1230 CDT
Registration: N14968
Aircraft: GIbb AR-1
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 11, 2019, about 1230 central daylight time, a Gibb AR-1, N14968, impacted terrain 300 ft from, and slightly to the right of, the departure end of runway 16 at the Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Hawley, Minnesota. The private pilot was fatally injured. The gyroplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. The gyroplane 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 existed at the accident site at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from 04Y at an undetermined time.

A passerby driving eastbound on Highway 10 just south of the runway saw the gyroplane descend nose down and impact the ground. A fire erupted immediately. The passerby stopped, ran to the accident site, and pulled the pilot from the burning wreckage. The passerby sustained serious burns to his hands.

The on-scene investigation revealed the gyroplane struck the ground on a magnetic heading of 175°. There was a 30-ft ground scar from the impact point to the main body of wreckage. All of the wreckage was contained within a 50-ft perimeter. All components were accounted for, including both main rotor blades, the engine, and all 3 blades of the pusher-type propeller. The airspeed and vertical speed indicators registered 110 mph and 910 fpm down, respectively. The altimeter and Kollsman window registered 1,580 ft and 30.08 inches of mercury, respectively.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: GIbb
Registration: N14968
Model/Series: AR-1
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: JKJ, 918 ft msl
Observation Time: 1235 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hawley, MN (04Y)
Destination: Hawley, MN (04Y)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 46.000000, -96.000000 (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 

Bradley James Gibb 

Bradley Gibb, 69, Vergas, Minn., died Thursday, July 11th, in an accident at Hawley Airport. He was an adventurous spirit who lived his life with great passion. He left this world and flew to heaven doing what he loved, flying his gyrocopter.

Brad was born November 7, 1949, in Fargo, N.D., to Donald and Mary (Vickers) Gibb. He attended Washington Elementary, Agassiz Junior High, and was a graduate of the last class of Fargo Central High, where he was a member of the swim team. In high school he met his future wife Kaylynn (Heth).

He attended the University of North Dakota and was a member of the ATO fraternity. He left school to work as a plumber for Robert Gibb and Sons Mechanical Contractors, the third generation in a family business started by his grandfather, Robert. In 1971, Brad and Kaylynn welcomed their only son, Jason.

Brad resumed his education at Moorhead State University, initially majoring in music. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting. After a year working for a bank in New Mexico, he rejoined the family business as a plumbing and heating estimator. During his time at Gibb and Sons, the company was awarded many large mechanical contracts in the region such as West Acres, the Radisson, Fargo Water Treatment Plant, and the highlight of his 27-year career, the Fargodome.

His love of music began in 1959 when he took organ lessons with his father, played saxophone in the school band, and briefly played in a garage band with friends. After retiring, Brad returned to music in 2005, joining the FM Golden Notes New Horizons Band with Kaylynn. In 2010 they joined the East Valley Pops Orchestra in Mesa, Ariz. They also enjoyed entertaining at retirement homes, fundraisers, and church.

Brad loved golf, playing year-round after retirement at the Detroit Lakes (Minn.) Executive course and Fountain of the Sun in Mesa, Ariz. He also enjoyed spending time outdoors hunting, skiing, boating, and sailing, including many hours on the lakes of Minnesota and Lake of the Woods.

In the 1980s, Brad became an instrument-rated pilot, owning and operating a Piper airplane. He later built a fixed-wing ultralight aircraft. After retirement, he realized a life-long dream and earned his rating as a gyroplane pilot.

Brad is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Scott. 

He is survived by his wife, Kaylynn; son, Jason (Pam); grandchildren, Claire and Alexander, of Moorhead, Minn.; brother, Steve (Lisa) of Rollag, Minn.; sister, Marsha of Rio Rancho, N.M., and a large extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. Brad will be greatly missed.

A celebration of his life will be held July 19 at Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to a charity of your choice.

HAWLEY, Minnesota (KVLY) Officials have released the name of the pilot who died in an aircraft crash at the Hawley Municipal Airport Thursday afternoon.

Authorities found Bradley Gibb, 69, of Vergas, Minnesota deceased when they arrived on the scene.

According to records from the Federal Aviation Administration, Gibb's aircraft was a American Ranger 1 AR1.

The website lists Gibb's aircraft was classified as experimental and its category classified as amateur built.

First responders were called to the Hawley Municipal Airport just before 12:30 Thursday afternoon for reports of a plane crash.

Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting said a bystander who was driving by the crash, pulled over and pulled the pilot out of the burning aircraft. Unfortunately the pilot was already deceased.

The bystander suffered minor burns on their hand, but they were treated and released by Hawley medical staff on the scene.

We talked with a family member of Gibb at the crash scene Thursday night, and they told us that Gibb flew his Rotorcraft as a hobby.

It's still unclear what caused the crash. Gibb was the only occupant of the Ultralight style aircraft at the time of crash. The crash remains under investigation at this time by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Story and video ➤

HAWLEY, Minnesota (Valley News Live) A 911 recording details the calls between emergency responders after a specialized aircraft crashed in Clay County.

The pilot and lone occupant of the American Ranger 1 AR1 died in the crash, according to Sheriff Mark Emptying.

The call sounded like chaos as emergency responders drove to the aircraft crash Thursday at Hawley Airport along Highway 10.

“Just in case we got multiple injuries with this plane crash, don't know how many we got to deal with,” dispatch said.

It was a Clay County deputy who first arrived at the crash site a few minutes after noon.

Within minutes, several agencies were dispatched to the scene.

“We have a report of an airport crash or an aircraft crash by Hawley Municipal Airport. There’s someone possibly in the plane it's on fire. We’re getting multiple phone calls.”

During radio communication, emergency responders talked about how response times for other calls were slightly impacted because of the number of resources devoted to the crash.

“You can cancel the emergency...we have one patient who is DOA, we have one other bystander who has some slight burns to his hands that he received from pulling the victim out,” a dispatcher said.

Although injured, that individual did not require medical attention at a hospital.

A federal investigator is expected to arrive at the crash site Friday.

Story and video ➤

HAWLEY, Minnesota (KFGO) - The pilot of a small ultralight aircraft is dead after crashing at the Hawley Municipal Airport.  The aircraft caught fire.

Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting says a bystander who pulled the victim from the burning aircraft had minor injuries.  

The crash, on airport property north of Hwy. 10, was reported at about 12:30 p.m. Thurs.

Deputies, Hawley HERT (Hawley Emergency Rescue Team) and the state patrol all responded to the scene.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

Original article can be found here ➤



  2. The video link above details the factory construction of American Ranger AR1's.

  3. According to the AR website, these aircraft can't be stalled or spun. Some kind of structural failure related to the the mast or rotors?

    1. Yes gyroplanes can't stall and thus can't spin but they can still get behind the power curve if the pilot does not pay attention and if pilot does certain maneuvers like a parabola, the rotors can be unloaded