National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report
Date & Time:
04/13/2000, 1830 EDT
Air & Space. 18A
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Personal
Witnesses stated the gyroplane jumped into the air about 30 to 50 feet, made a right turn down runway 32 climbing to about 150 to 200 feet, turned right down a cone line (crosswind), leveled the gyroplane and climbed another 100 feet. The gyroplane was observed to make a right turn, level briefly, and begin another right, which continued until the rotor blades were near vertical. The gyroplane slid sideways towards the ground in a high sink rate and collided with terrain. Examination of the airframe, flight controls, and engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The reason for the in-flight loss of control was not determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's in-flight loss of control while maneuvering for undetermined reasons resulting in an uncontrolled descent and subsequent in-flight collision with terrain.
Occurrence #1: LOSS OF CONTROL - IN FLIGHT
On April 13, 2000, at about 1830 eastern daylight time, an Air & Space Gyroplane 18A, N905AS, registered to Air & Space America Inc., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while maneuvering in the traffic pattern at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The gyroplane sustained substantial damage. The airline transport pilot was transported to a local area hospital with serious injuries, and died on April 23, 2000. The flight originated from Lakeland-Linder Airport about 2 minutes before the accident.
Witnesses stated the gyroplane jumped into the air about 30 to 50 feet, made a right turn down runway 32 climbing to about 150 to 200 feet, turned right down a cone line (crosswind), leveled the gyroplane and climbed another 100 feet. The gyroplane was observed to make a right turn, level briefly, and begin another right turn; which continued until the rotor blades were near vertical. The gyroplane slid sideways towards the ground in a high sink rate and collided with the terrain.
Examination of the crash site revealed the aircraft was located in the grass east and north of taxiways "L" and "E". Numerous main rotor blade strikes were present on the ground and the aircraft was laying on its right side. Examination of the airframe, flight control assembly, engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction. (For additional information see FAA inspector Statement and Lakeland Police Department Report, an attachment to this report.)
Dr. Stephen J. Nelson, District Medical Examiner, District Ten, Bartow, Florida conducted postmortem examination of the pilot, on April 24, 2000. The cause of death was complications of blunt force trauma. Postmortem toxicological analysis of specimens from the pilot were deferred due to the prolonged 10 day hospitalization prior to death, and because of the absence of any blood specimens suitable for toxicological testing obtained at the time of his initial hospital presentation after the accident.
According to the summary of hospital course by the pilot's treating physician at the hospital, the pilot"...had a complicated course with cardiac arrhythmias requiring pacemaker placement. He had difficulty during this time with his heart and sustained a period of arrest...." (For additional information see Medical Information supplied by NTSB Medical Officer, an attachment to this report.)
Review of pilot medical records obtained from Lourdes Hospital, Paducah, Kentucky, revealed the pilot saw a physician on February 28, 1996, for abdomen/chest pain and shortness of breath. A treadmill test was administered and the following comments were entered in the graded treadmill exercise report:
1. The resting ECG (electrocardiogram) reveals sinus rhythm with mild inferolateral ST-T wave changes.
2. Good exercise tolerance.
3. Appropriate heart rate and BP response to exercise with the patient achieving target heart rate.
4. Clinically negative for ischemia.
5. Electrocardiographically nondiagnostic for myocardial ischemia due to resting ECG abnormalities. However, with exercise there were noted to be changes suggestive of myocardial ischemia.
Review of FAA records on file at the Aeromedical Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed on the pilots application for a second class medical application dated February 20, 1997, that the pilot indicated that he visited a health professional in February 1996. He indicated in block 19, "complete physical-no problems."
The aircraft wreckage and aircraft logbooks were released to Mr. John Potter, Air and Space America Inc., on May 5, 2000.
Multi-engine Land; Multi-engine Sea; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Glider; Gyroplane; Helicopter
Seatbelt, Shoulder harness
Second Pilot Present:
Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Glider; Gyroplane; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Class 2 Valid Medical--no waivers/lim.
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
25000 hours (Total, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Air & Space.
Year of Manufacture:
Landing Gear Type:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
440 Hours at time of accident
AIR & SPACE AMERICA INC.
AIR & SPACE AMERICA INC.
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
LAL, 142 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Broken / 15000 ft agl
4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
30.04 inches Hg
28°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
LAKELAND, FL (LAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Type of Clearance:
Type of Airspace:
Lakeland-Linder Regional (LAL)
Runway Surface Type:
Runway Surface Condition:
Wreckage and Impact Information
Investigator In Charge (IIC):
CARROL A SMITH
Additional Participating Persons:
ALBERT KIMBALL; FAA FSDO; Orlando, FL
NTSB accident and incident dockets serve as permanent archival information for the NTSB’s investigations. Dockets released prior to June 1, 2009 are publicly available from the NTSB’s Record Management Division at email@example.com, or at 800-877-6799. Dockets released after this date are available at http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/.