Friday, May 29, 2020

AutoGyro Cavalon, N477AG: Fatal accident occurred May 28, 2020 in Roseburg, Douglas County, Oregon • Accident occurred August 14, 2019 at Sanderson Field Airport (KSHN), Shelton, Mason County, Washington • Incident occurred October 23, 2016 at South Texas Regional Airport (KHDO), Hondo, Medina County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

May 28, 2020: Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances in a field and post crash fire.

Date: 28-MAY-20

Time: 22:44:00Z
Regis#: N477AG
Aircraft Make: AUTOGYRO
Aircraft Model: CAVALON
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

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 

ROSEBURG, Oregon - The Douglas County Medical Examiner's Office has presumptively identified the pilot from Thursday's aircraft accident as 77-year-old Lee Pauling of Olympia, Washington.

Pauling was operating a AutoGyro Cavalon when the aircraft crashed around 2:13 p.m. on private property Thursday in the 2300-block of Glengary Loop Road in Roseburg.

Pauling was declared deceased at the scene.

He was the only occupant on board at the time of the incident.

The Sheriff's Office is working with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration on the investigation.

Next of kin has been notified.

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

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Shelton, WA
Accident Number: WPR19LA221
Date & Time: 08/14/2019, 1800 PDT
Registration: N477AG
Aircraft: AutoGyro Cavalon
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 14, 2019, about 1800 Pacific daylight time, an experimental AutoGyro Cavalon, N477AG, impacted the runway shortly after takeoff from Sanderson Field Airport (SHN), Shelton, Washington. The sports pilot received minor injuries. The gyrocopter received substantial damage to the empennage and fuselage. The gyrocopter was registered to the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed around the airport about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from SHN at about 1700.

According to the pilot, he was conducting takeoff and landings from runway 23. He reported that he had previously been lifting off the runway at about 56 miles per hour and on the fourth takeoff roll he noticed the airspeed had reached 60 knots. He then applied slight aft control stick. The gyrocopter rapidly pitched up, nose high into the air and began to yaw to the right. He said that he heard a loud bang and the gyrocopter quickly struck the runway. He recalled the engine had stopped running when the gyrocopter came to a stop.

Examination of the accident site revealed the gyrocopter struck the runway slightly left of centerline, rolled onto its left side and slide about 170 ft to the left edge of the runway. All major components remained affixed to the gyrocopter. Small fragments of fiberglass and acrylic were scattered along the runway from the initial contact point to the final resting spot.

The gyrocopter was recovered for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AutoGyro
Registration: N477AG
Model/Series: Cavalon
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane 
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Shelton, WA (SHN)
Destination: Shelton, WA (SHN) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 47.232778, -123.150833 (est)

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

October 23, 2016:  AutoGyro Cavalon on landing rolled over. 

Date: 23-OCT-16

Time: 22:30:00Z
Regis#: N477AG
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Texas


  1. Strike 3, YOU'RE OUT forever

  2. Too stubborn to take the hint to hang it up being in his 70s after two previous accidents. Yep, he struck out for good. The family probably feels sad, but they probably did nothing. I can hear it now: "He died doing what he loved." Fortunately the stubborn old mule didn't take anyone else with him.

  3. I do not think we should assume pilot error automatically just because the pilot was 77 years old. Because the seating is side-by-side in the Cavalon, AugoGyro employs a push-pull cable system as opposed to solid control rods. Loss of control of the rotor is a real possibility if the cable system is not adjusted properly. This could have plagued the machine from the outset. Or it may have become damaged with the first accident making accurate inputs to the rotor impossible.

    Two years ago, one of the most experienced gyro pilots in the US, Cris Lord, lost rotor control of the Cavalon he was flying and was killed attempting to land using rudder and throttle inputs only. Mr. Pauling may have had his cable-based rotor control system fail, too. For my money, the tandem seating or solo seating configurations which use solid control rods and avoid cable systems are superior to the side-by-side arrangement.

    Another thing, in defense of Mr. Pauling, any pilot attempting to line up a runway for landing while piloting a side-by-side has his work cut out for him because the centerline of the aircraft is not the centerline of his sight picture. ~ Capt. Pete Broussard

  4. It appears to me based on discussions with people close to the accident in Hondo, TX N477AG had a different pilot and may even be a different aircraft.
    In my opinion it is premature and pointless to blame this accident on anyone.