National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report
Date & Time:
01/24/2003, 0913 CST
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional
The pilot was maneuvering in the traffic pattern for landing. He failed to properly use the cyclic and collective pitch and maintain rotor RPM, which resulted in mast bumping, separation of the tailboom assembly, and subsequent collision with terrain. Impact marks were present on the rotor blade hub bar, and paint transfer marks were present on the bottom of both main rotor blades and leading edge.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper use of flight controls (cyclic and collective) and failure to maintain rotor RPM while maneuvering that resulted in the separation of the tailboom assembly.
Occurrence #1: IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH OBJECT
On January 24, 2003, at 0913 central standard time, a Long 2000 gyrocraft, N8YF, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91training flight, collided with the ground while maneuvering in the traffic pattern at Brewton Municipal Airport, Brewton, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The gyrocraft received substantial damage. The airline transport rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Brewton Municipal Airport, Brewton, Alabama, on January 24, 2003, at 0903.
A certified flight instructor stated he arrived at the airport around 0900 to conduct a training flight with the pilot. The flight was to conduct emergency procedures and to expose the pilot to the different flying characteristics of the gyrocraft with the doors on. He observed the pilot running up the gyrocraft and making 360-degree turns. He figured the pilot was calibrating a newly installed compass. He went inside the hangar and heard the pilot announce over the UNICOM radio about 10 minutes later that he was departing runway 18. Navy personnel who are co-located at the non-controlled airport advised the pilot on the UNICOM frequency that there was no known air traffic. The flight instructor went outside and observed the gyrocraft taking off downwind. He ran back inside the hangar and called the pilot on the radio with no response. He went back outside and saw the gyrocraft was on base for runway 18. He called the pilot and told him the wind was favoring 36 and to be careful because he had the cabin doors on. The gyrocraft was observed to turn final.
While on final approach, the pilot called the instructor and stated he was aborting the landing to runway 18, and was turning right to enter a downwind for runway 36. The instructor observed the gyrocraft make a turn and start climbing, so he went back inside the hangar. A few minutes later he heard the Navy calling the gyrocraft with no response. He became concerned and went outside and attempted contact with the pilot on a hand held radio; there was no response. He then observed firemen walking across the ramp toward runway 18 and runway 36. He also observed a fire truck in the grass, and then he heard on the radio the gyrocraft had crashed.
Examination of the wreckage revealed the crash debris line extended for about 300 feet on a heading of 180-degrees magnetic. The main rotor blades had collided with the propeller assembly, top of the maroon colored vertical stabilizer, and rudder assembly. Both main rotor blades were bent upward. The vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly separated from the tail boom assembly. The cabin area collided with the ground and the cabin came to rest in the upright position. The leading edge of both rotor blades was damaged. Maroon paint transfer was present on the bottom of both main rotor blades. Examination of the engine assembly revealed no anomalies.
Review of the RAF 2000 Gyroplane Flight Manual states, "Section II, Operating Limitations, Normal Rotor Operating Range, *Note: LOAD FACTORS OF LESS THAN ONE G CAUSE A DELAY IN ROTOR RPM AND IF SUSTAINED COULD LEAD TO BLADE FLAPPING. (PILOT MUST MONITOR ROTOR TRACK TO STAY WITHIN PROPER LIMITS.)"
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the airline transport pilot was issued a airline transport pilot certificate on August 21, 2000, with ratings for airplane single engine land , multiengine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot held a flight engineer certificate issued on August 21, 2000, with ratings for turbojet powered. In addition the pilot was issued a flight instructor certificate on February 4, 1985, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The pilot was issued a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate on October 11, 2002. The pilot held a first class medical certificate issued on January 17, 2003 with no restrictions. The pilot reported on the application for the first class medical that he had 10, 850 hours. It could not be determined when the pilot completed his last biennial flight review.
The Regional Medical Examiner, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Mobile, Alabama, performed a postmortem examination of the pilot on January 25, 2003. The cause of death was blunt trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and basic and acidic drugs.
Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Flight Engineer
Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Seatbelt, Shoulder harness
Second Pilot Present:
Class 1 Valid Medical--no waivers/lim.
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
10850 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Year of Manufacture:
Landing Gear Type:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
69 Hours at time of accident
Jack D. Long
Jack D. Long
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
GZH, 260 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
17 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
30.58 inches Hg
7°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Brewton, AL (12J)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Type of Clearance:
Type of Airspace:
Brewton Municipal (12J)
Runway Surface Type:
Runway Surface Condition:
4100 ft / 150 ft
Wreckage and Impact Information
Investigator In Charge (IIC):
Carrol A Smith
Additional Participating Persons:
Jack Clark; Birmingham FSDO; Vestavia Hills, AL
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 800-877-6799. Dockets released after this date are available at http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/.