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Summary

Summary

The pilot purchased the aircraft in kit form from the manufacturer when he was visiting the USA in June 1989. He completed a training course in the dual seat version comprising approximately 30 hours of dual instruction, and was certified competent for solo flight on 10 June 1989. After returning to Australia he assembled the aircraft with the assistance of an aircraft engineer and began flying it on 20 September 1989, and had flown approximately 5 hours since then. On the day of the accident, the pilot had been practising takeoffs and landings at the Tully aerodrome, and after about an hour of flying stopped for a break and to check the fuel. During the break he said that he would fly for another half hour, and then stop to refuel and have something to eat. During the next flight, the aircraft was seen proceeding along the runway and carrying out "S" turns to reverse direction. During the commencement of a turn to the right, whilst heading towards the southern end of the strip, the aircraft was seen to adopt a steep nose down attitude, and dive towards the ground. The aircraft impacted the ground inverted, adjacent to the strip on a heading of 200 degrees magnetic, and travelled 15 metres after initial impact before coming to rest. There was no evidence to suggest that the aircraft was operating abnormally prior to the accident sequence, and no defects were found which may have contributed to the development of the accident. The aircraft pitched nose down suddenly, and the rotor blade struck the tailfin with considerable force before ground impact. The behaviour of the aircraft is consistent with that which may occur when a gyrocopter is subjected to zero or negative "g", causing normal inflight forces to become unbalanced, and the gyrocopter to become uncontrollable. The weight of the aircraft is removed from the rotor, and the engine thrust may then turn the aircraft upside down. This could be caused by levelling off from a climb too abruptly at a low forward speed, and allowing the airflow through the rotor to be reversed.

 
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