Thursday, July 14, 2022

Loss of Control in Flight: Groen Sparrow Hawk III, N430HS; accident occurred March 23, 2022 in Lubbock, Texas

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; Lubbock, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lubbock, Texas
Accident Number: CEN22LA150
Date and Time: March 23, 2022, 10:46 Local
Registration: N430HS
Aircraft: Sparrow Hawk III 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


Shortly after takeoff the pilot “felt a force straight down.” The gyroplane impacted the terrain hard, rolled over, and came to rest on its side adjacent to the runway. The gyroplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and stabilizers. Reported winds about the time accident included wind gusts and a peak wind of 30 knots. A postaccident examination of the gyroplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the gyrocopter during takeoff with strong gusty winds.


Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation
Aircraft (general) - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb Other weather encounter
Initial climb Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor; Private
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 1, 2022
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1041 hours (Total, all aircraft), 33 hours (Total, this make and model), 836 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Sparrow Hawk
Registration: N430HS Model/Series: III 
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: Amateur
Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: S03-0003
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 21, 2022 Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 69 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Subaru
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: EJ-25
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: KLBB,3241 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 10:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 358°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 6000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 19 knots / 30 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 320° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / -7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lubbock, TX 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lubbock, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Lubbock Executive Airpark F82 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 3200 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 70 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.485853,-101.81374 (est)

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