ASRA new safety directive for TAG gyroplane.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
DavePA11;n1143592 said:
Vance - You would be a good gyro accident inspector for the FAA. Wonder how you would go about getting such a job...

Thank you Dave, I have been involved in a lot of failure analysis and destructive testing related to motorcycles and engines.

I have had a life time of high risk pursuits and feel vigilance is a large part of surviving.

At one time I had a casual offer from the FAA that I chose not to pursue.
 

JAL

New member
Vance;n1143598 said:
Good evening Jordan,

In my opinion based on very limited information the loss of the blade weight is the cause of the Forest Beach accident.

I don't pretend to speak for the ASRA and they may reach a different conclusion.
That is a very Kolibrii thing to say. Coming to a conclusion that the investigators haven't yet, furthermore the only thing the investigators are sure on is that the mast plates failed in flight.

The metallurgical testing of the main plates has not been completed. Until that is completed then everything else is speculative. Here are the facts:

ASRA had grounded TAGs with folding masts after the Orange crash because the mast plates had failed in flight. I believe they are still waiting on the metallurgical test results from this investigation and have not published their final conclusions yet.

Then the Bunbury (Forrest Beach) accident occurred when a TAG with folding mast fatally crashed after the mast plates failed in flight. This gyro was subject to the original AD and was officially grounded and therefore was flying illegally.

ASRA have since stated that when the blades of the Bunbury accident were being disposed (they were being cut up) it was noticed an end cap and balance rod were missing. They do not know when this occurred. With this information ASRA has rightly taken precautionary steps and issued a warning that the mast failure may be secondary caused by rotor imbalance to warn other TAG owners of the possible danger but it is not their conclusion yet.

I have seen comments about the blade not having any obvious impact damage and so the conclusion is that the balance rod came out in flight however there has been no comment from ASRA about the condition of the blade. Also the failure has only occurred with folding mast TAG gyros and there are no reports of problems with the same blades on non-folding mast TAGs as of yet.

My understanding is that the metallurgical testing of the main plates has not been completed which might shed light into whether it was fatigue/strength failure or something else. There are many ways the end cap and balance rod could have been lost that are not the primary reason for the accident but only one way the main plates have failed which has not yet been determined.

I am only saying this because maybe the reason why this accident occurred in the first place was speculation about what happened with the Orange accident which led the owner to believe his gyro was safe even though it was grounded. I wouldn't want to conclude anything, I think ASRA the best chance to work out what happened and think its better to wait for their reasons.


Jordan
 

Steve_UK

New member
ASRA are in an uneveniable position with the accident investigation demands put upon them. They are a small user association not a Govt department - their own stats suggest only approx 300 registered machines, that's a small membership to fund the association. I'd guess that accident investigation ( small team travelling to remote locations, accommodation, food, etc ) costs quiet a sum and they will only have a small team of investigative staff/volunteers.

News reports tell us of another fatal gyrocopter accident earlier today up in Queensland, so sadly another investigation for them to consider and delve into.

The ASRA website itself publishes the following comment about accident investigation,


""ASRA policy on accident investigations In 2014 ASRA, wrote to the Hon Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. CASA sits in Minister’s Truss’s portfolio. ASRA raised in its letter to Minister Truss was the cost of conducting accident investigations. The Minister’s response is direct in stating that, “ aircraft accident investigation matters are not a function undertaken by or requested by CASA”.
This statement, while strictly accurate, is at odds with the CASA Deed that ASRA must sign each year. In this document one of our mandatory compliance functions is to:
“examine the results of incident and accident investigations to ensure that standards have been complied with”.
Another mandatory compliance function is for ASRA to:
“provide quarterly statistical reporting in relation to the numbers of ASRA members, aircraft, accidents, incidents, defects and fatalities……. “.
It would seem from the Minister’s response that CASA is more interested in how many pilots die than what caused their deaths.
Given that the ATSB does not investigate gyroplane accidents and CASA is not interested in supporting ASRA’s investigations, the cost of investigating gyro accidents will continue to be a major financial burden on ASRA.
The ASRA committee has discussed this issue and has reconfirmed its commitment to investigate accidents where preliminary examination would suggest that a thorough investigation would contribute to the safety of ASRA members. However in future, ASRA will be less likely to investigate accidents involving non-members or where preliminary examination would indicate that pilot error was the cause.
ASRA will also seek cost recovery via a prior agreement before becoming involved in investigations at the request of local police or the ATSB.""
 

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
<There are many ways the end cap and balance rod could have been lost that are not the primary reason for the accident but only one way the main plates have failed which has not yet been determined.>
<The balance rod and end cap could have been ejected due to impact, vs. in the air.>

I see this as a very nearly zero probability. A claim like this should include some reasonable scenario or evidence to even propose it as a possibility. If there were a catastophically damaged blade and the weight came out of the shattered blade, then it would be likely. I haven't seen any pics from the first accident, but the second shows what can only be a slung weight. Ejection out the end cap is almost impossible to do other than through the rotating forces of the spinning blade.
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
Ejection out the end cap is almost impossible to do other than through the rotating forces of the spinning blade.
Perhaps Jazzenjohn, but still possible, though not probable, as I mused a couple of days ago:

Since the entire rotor assembly detached, and (given its condition) apparently fell rather gently into the water,
I'm now more inclined to believe that the balance rod probably was slung out in flight.
__________
btw, yesterday's fatal gyro crash in Queensland doesn't seem to be a TAG.
The deceased's FB profile has a video of himself flying some other brand (screenshot below).
He seemed a very well liked and respected man; my condolences to his family and friends.


Scott Sargood's gyro.png






FROM 11 APRIL 2019 _______________

The Aussies seem to be using their gyros for far more hours under much more difficult conditions than me and most people I know.
That is why I believe we need to pay particular attention to any problems they have.
Jazzenjohn, many ranchers there use the Sport Copter M912 (and soon the M2) to muster cattle.
They fly 'em hard, with no problems, but those machines are built for rugged duty.



___________
I like Thomas Jefferson's categories for how to read the newspapers, and find them helpful in daily life.
Thus, my earlier posts on the intended meaning of the ASRA SD.



Truths, Probabilities, Possibilities, Lies
 

JAL

New member
Jazzenjohn;n1143617 said:
<There are many ways the end cap and balance rod could have been lost that are not the primary reason for the accident but only one way the main plates have failed which has not yet been determined.>
<The balance rod and end cap could have been ejected due to impact, vs. in the air.>

I see this as a very nearly zero probability. A claim like this should include some reasonable scenario or evidence to even propose it as a possibility. If there were a catastophically damaged blade and the weight came out of the shattered blade, then it would be likely. I haven't seen any pics from the first accident, but the second shows what can only be a slung weight. Ejection out the end cap is almost impossible to do other than through the rotating forces of the spinning blade.
The possibility is just simply the rod and end cap is missing and no-one knows when it occurred. When it comes to life and death you do not need any more evidence than that to issue a warning that it is missing and that it being slung from the blade might be a reason why. How could you not warn if that is what you have found, even if you think that it is unlikely scenario.

There are many reasons for the missing end cap and rod, here just some:
The missing rod was only found after the wreckage was released back to the owners and it seems to me that it was discovered when the blade had already been cut, which is not ideal.
The end cap could have been damaged during retrieval, moving them around from shed to shed etc. It wasn't the NTSB it was a couple of local coppers and tow truck operator that did the retrieval.
The blade tip could have impacted the ground first, knocking the cap off then the rod fell out when being retrieved.
The blade tip could have impacted the gyro and knocked the end cap off without serious damage to the blade itself.
The violent flapping after the rotor separating in flight might resulted in in end cap failure and slinging of rod.

Also the logic doesn't quite work either, if one blade is grossly imbalanced compared to the other as suggested then there would be likely a lot of damage to the blade and hub bar as it rips itself apart. It did after all manage to rip the mast off which suggests to me a very violent event but the blades seem OK. It would make more sense if the rotor is mostly intact for it to have separated quickly and fluttered away.

The metallurgical testing is the best chance to work out what when wrong. If they don't find any evidence of fatigue or stress cracking and conclude that it was an near instantaneous separation then the blade imbalance theory has more weight if not then it is most likely the mast plates.

Not sure why people need to have a conclusion without first having the critical information at hand.
 

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
If my math is correct, A 27.5' blade having the weight at 13.75' from the center and presuming the weight was 10 pounds, (admittedly, several critical assumptions) the force acting on the weight would be about 5500 pounds at 340 RRPM. I'm fairly sure the blades could get much higher RRPM than that in a tight turn or pullout from a dive. 400 RRPM brings it up to 7500 pounds. 13' and 15 pounds brings it up to 10,600 pounds at 400 RRPM. The Aussies seem to be using their gyros for far more hours under much more difficult conditions than me and most people I know. That is why I believe we need to pay particular attention to any problems they have.
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
I like Thomas Jefferson's four categories for newspaper stories, and find it useful in daily life.
My earlier posts were about placing the theory of the in-flight thrown balance rod.

Truths, Probabilities, Possibilities, Lies
 

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Jazzenjohn;n1143637 said:
...
The Aussies seem to be using their gyros for far more hours under much more difficult conditions than me and most people I know. That is why I believe we need to pay particular attention to any problems they have.
Interesting since as best as I know one gyro had less than 50 hours and the other about 200 hours
 

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
Fara, my comment was in general and about not only this accident, but also on the other issues like the hub bar problems that have cropped up there over the last few years. I think there is a tendency for them to do more rough field flying than we do. That is just an impression based on some reading on this and the ASRA forum. Do you think that is a wrong belief?
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
The Aussies seem to be using their gyros for far more hours under much more difficult conditions than me and most people I know.
That is why I believe we need to pay particular attention to any problems they have.
Many ranchers there use the Sport Copter M912 (and soon the M2) to muster cattle.
They fly 'em hard, with no problems, but those machines are built for rugged duty.
 

DavePA11

Member
I only flew off airport or on grass with my Sportcopter. Didn’t like to land on pavement. Landed up hill once on a farm in Vermont, and turned out it was frozen grass so slid down the hill... Didn’t like that.

Also when landing up hill the site picture is different so ended up landing too close to the cow fence. That was interesting landing, but luckily landed with no forward speed. Had a lot of cars pull over to watch.

Landed in a couple of quarry’s, but have to watch for poles and wires. Landed on dirt bike trail. Landed on pasture along the coast of Maine. Only problem I ever encountered was listening to Barry to adjust pitch on prop too much at one time, and couldn’t climb out on takeoff so had to set it down.

Flying Sportcopter M912 is a blast!
 

Hosko

Junior Member
This claim that the TE was overloaded . Just a guess , combined weight of two POB roughly 160kg . 140kg of camping gear & extra fuel ? Unlikely .
BTW .....MTOW for a Sparrowhawk is 680kg.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Steve_UK

New member
ATSB have now published an update into their examination of the cheek plates on the Titanium Explorer that had a double fatal accident at Orange, New South Wales in October 2018


They say,

" [h=2]What happened[/h]
On 31 October 2018 a Titanium Explorer Autogyro, registered G-0014, collided with terrain approximately 1 km south‑east of Orange Airport, New South Wales. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The rotors and masthead were found some distance from the main wreckage, having separated at the cheek plates (Figure 1). The cheek plates sit on either side of the collapsible mast and are designed to secure the mast in the upright position during operation.

The Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association commenced an investigation into this accident and requested technical assistance from the ATSB to examine the cheek plates and their fracture surfaces. Specifically, the ATSB was requested to determine the direction of fracture progression through the plates and to identify any factors that may have contributed to their failure.

To facilitate this work, the ATSB initiated an external investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. [h=2]Results[/h]
The ATSB examination undertook physical, microscopic and chemical analysis of the cheek plates. These examinations found that the plates had failed due to ductile overstress, commencing at the leading edge and progressing to the trailing edge (when oriented in the direction of travel). The plate’s dimensions and chemical composition were in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and there was no evidence of any pre-existing defects.


A photo of the cheek plates can be found on the following ATSB link


https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/aair/ae-2018-073/
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
Hosko, I think that Chris was trying to blame only the Forrest Beach crash on overloading (even though a decent rotor system would have handled that without failing, since they're designed to tolerate AUW at 3.5g plus a 50% reserve factor).

Regarding the Orange crash, the mast plates failed, despite no defects in the spec material (Grade 5 Titanium).
Bolt hole (mis)placement was no doubt a key factor, as others instantly opined last year.

I don't expect gracious acceptance of ASRA's determination by some, with a blizzard of emoticons to follow.
Or, crickets.




ATSB examination of Orange NSW TAG gyro crash.png
 
Last edited:

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
I look forward to reading ASRA's determination on the cause of the Orange Airport crash.

In my opinion this report on the plates is a step in the process and answers the question; was the cause of the fracture a problem with defective materials or poor workmanship?

I would expect to see ductile overstress when the rotor hits something at flight rpm as it did in the Orange Airport crash.
 
Top