National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

New Braunfels, TX

Accident Number:

DFW06LA028

Date & Time:

11/11/2005, 1705 CST

Registration:

N100KR

Aircraft:

Rehler Gyrocopter

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

 

Injuries:

1 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The 700-hour private pilot/builder/owner was approaching Runway 13 when a gust of wind turned the gyrocopter sideways.  The gyrocopter subsequently flipped inverted and impacted the runway.  Examination of the gyrocopter did not reveal any mechanical deficiencies.  The winds at the airport were reported from 150 degrees at 12 knots near the time of the accident.

 

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 while landing.  A contributing factor was the high winds.

Findings

 

Occurrence #1: LOSS OF CONTROL - IN FLIGHT
Phase of Operation: APPROACH

Findings
1. (F) WEATHER CONDITION - HIGH WIND
2. (C) AIRCRAFT CONTROL - NOT MAINTAINED - PILOT IN COMMAND
----------

Occurrence #2: IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH TERRAIN/WATER
Phase of Operation: DESCENT - UNCONTROLLED

Findings
3. TERRAIN CONDITION - RUNWAY

 

Factual Information

On November 11, 2005, about 1705 central standard time, an experimental Rehler gyrocopter, N100KR, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while on approach to Runway 13 at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport, near New Braunfels, Texas.  The private pilot/builder/owner, sole occupant of the gyroplane, was fatally injured.  Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.  The local flight originated at the New Braunfels Airport at an undetermined time.

Several witnesses observed the gyrocopter as it descended and approached the runway.  When the gyrocopter was about 30 feet above the ground, a gust of wind turned the aircraft sideways, and the gyrocopter "flipped inverted and impacted the runway on its main rotor system."  Some of the witnesses reported hearing the engine make a power change before ground impact.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-scene examination of the wreckage.  The inspector established flight and engine control continuity and found fuel in the fuel tank.  No mechanical deficiencies or anomalies were noted.

The pilot designed and constructed the gyrocopter.  According to his website, he described his gyrocopter as a single-place, experimental aircraft powered by a 100 HP, four-cylinder, four- cycle Rotax engine.  The gyrocopter featured a 27-foot-diameter main rotor system, with a three-bladed, 68-inch-diameter propeller installed in the pusher configuration.  The gyrocopter was reported to be capable to cruise between 35 and 95 miles per hour.

The pilot's last FAA third class medical was issued on June 9, 2004.  At that time, the pilot reported a total of 700 flight hours.  Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA's Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Weather reported at the airport at 1751 was wind from 150 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 6,000 feet, overcast clouds at 7,000 feet, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

63, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Center

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

Seatbelt, Shoulder harness

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/01/2004

Occupational Pilot:

 

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

700 hours (Total, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Rehler

Registration:

N100KR

Model/Series:

Gyrocopter

Aircraft Category:

Gyroplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

Yes

Airworthiness Certificate:

Experimental

Serial Number:

1

Landing Gear Type:

Tricycle

Seats:

1

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

 Unknown

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

975 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

Rotax

ELT:

Not installed

Engine Model/Series:

912S

Registered Owner:

Kenneth Rehler

Rated Power:

100 hp

Operator:

Kenneth Rehler

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

BAZ, 651 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

 

Observation Time:

1751 CST

Direction from Accident Site:

 

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Unknown

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Broken / 6000 ft agl

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

12 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

150°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.97 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

27°C / 17°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

New Braunfels, TX (BAZ)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

 

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

 CST

Type of Airspace:

 

 

Airport Information

Airport:

New Braunfels Municipal (BAZ)

Runway Surface Type:

Asphalt

Airport Elevation:

651 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Dry

Runway Used:

13

IFR Approach:

Visual

Runway Length/Width:

5352 ft / 100 ft

VFR Approach/Landing:

Traffic Pattern

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude:

29.702778, -98.038611

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Leah D Yeager

Report Date:

03/28/2006

Additional Participating Persons:

Harry Keifer; FAA/FSDO; San Antonio, TX

Publish Date:

 

Investigation Docket:

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 pubinq@ntsb.gov, or at 800-877-6799. Dockets released after this date are available at http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/.