Friday, December 04, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Rotary RAF 2000, N47EB; Accident occurred December 07, 2019 at Millard Airport (KMLE), Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Omaha, Nebraska 
Accident Number: CEN20TA030
Date & Time: December 7, 2019, 13:55 Local
Registration: N47EB
Aircraft: Rotary RAF 2000 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On December 7, 2019, about 1355 central daylight time, a Rotary RAF 2000 rotorcraft-gyrocopter, N47EB, impacted terrain at the Millard Airport, Omaha, Nebraska. The pilot, sole occupant, received serious injuries, and the gyrocopter sustained substantial damage. The gyrocopter was operated by and registered to a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that the gyrocopter had impacted terrain near the parallel taxiway and came to rest on its side. A review of security camera video revealed the gyrocopter approached runway 12, then veered right towards the taxiway and a building, before gaining altitude. The gyrocopter then descended before making several oscillations in altitude above the taxiway. The gyrocopter impacted terrain next to the taxiway and rolled over several times before coming to a stop.

In an interview with the FAA inspector, the pilot reported that he hadn't flown the gyrocopter in a while and planned on practicing takeoff and landings. The pilot stated he felt a "windshear" just above the runway, the aircraft then veered to the right, past the runway threshold. He was unable to regain directional control and the aircraft headed toward the taxiway, touched down in the grass median, then became airborne before crossing the taxiway. He added the aircraft then climbed toward the T-hangar area before he was able to regain directional control. He stated that he attempted to touch down again along the taxiway but was unsuccessful, and the aircraft became briefly airborne. He reported that he directed the aircraft toward the ground and caused the aircraft to roll right. The pilot stated that he thought the gusty wind conditions were the primary factor causing him to lose directional control, and there were no pre-impact mechanical problems with the aircraft.

Several witnesses saw the accident. One witness, a flight instructor reported that he also experienced "windshear," while on approach to the runway. The instructor also stated that the rotorcraft pilot "appeared to be struggling to maintain control".

A review of the wind conditions about the time of the accident revealed that the automated weather station recorded; wind from 190° at 13 knots gusting to 17 knots.

A review of FAA records noted the accident pilot held a private certificate with rating for airplane, single-engine land. There was no record of him holding a rotorcraft-gyroplane rating. The pilot reported that he had about 231 hours of rotorcraft flight time.

The accident aircraft was a Rotary RAF 2000 gyroplane, built from a kit, and was certified in the Experimental – Amateur Built category. The aircraft's operating limitations were dated December 15, 1997. The pilot reported that the annual inspection had been completed Thanksgiving week, but not logged. The gyrocopter was not equipped with a horizontal stabilizer, and a review of the maintenance records for the gyrocopter revealed the aircraft had accumulated a total of 232.1 hours.

The United Kingdom's Civil Aircraft Authority conducted a test on the RAF 2000 gyrocopter and identified a potential issue when operating in turbulent or gusty wind conditions and issued MPD (Mandatory Permit Directive) 2003-001, with subsequent superseding MPD's.

Pilot Information 

Certificate: Private 
Age: 87
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Unknown Unknown 
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 1, 2006
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Rotary
Registration: N47EB
Model/Series: RAF 2000 GTX
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 1997 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special)
Serial Number: H2-95-6-156
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1540 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Subaru
Engine Model/Series: EJ-22
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMLE 
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 19:55 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots / 17 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 190° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Millard Airport MLE 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1050 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3801 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 41.194721,-96.112503

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