AR-1 gyro manufacturer
- Oct 31, 2011
- Tampa, FL
- Total Flight Time
- 4000+ 380 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes
Tony Mattioli was a friend of mine and member of the South Eastern Rotorcraft Association in Columbia.
He had been planning to fly his new AR-1 up from FLA after he got comfortable with it and flew off enough hours, etc. In fact, he was about to abandon his CUB hanger when he bought the AR1, but after we met he decided to keep it and fly up in his gyro so we could go out and bomb the local fields together south of town.
His hanger was across from mine at CUB, and when he first saw me with gyrocopters spilling out of my hanger he came over and introduced himself. At the time I was building Geoff Resney's Air Command tandem Yamaha 165HP EXUP "Godzilla", and had not yet returned my own Air Command tandem Yamaha 140HP to service so I had only a promise to offer him at the time for a ride.
Was hoping to find some new information about his death here. Reading Fara's info that there was a good chance there was an operational EFIS recording parameters on board at the time of the crash got my interest, to say the least. Because when I received the call just hours after they found Tony that sad Saturday in December after he went down the first thing that came to mind was the fact that he was flying a Rotax 914.
You see, Vance B reported on RF no less than 5, personal, Rotax 914 engine outs & forced landings in a couple of enclosed eurotubs over a relatively short span of time. How many 914 bulletins have been issued to date?
It is NOT reasonable to imagine that anyone - let alone a truly experienced and fully capable pilot in FW and rotorcraft - caught in low cloud cover and even perhaps fog would ignore his #1 most basic and important instrument: Altimeter.
What IS reasonable to imagine is that he was not very high up due to low cloud cover when his Rotax 914 engine quit, and he simply could not glide to a suitable LZ.
I am familiar with your acquaintance with Tony. Tony did talk about you.
Tony was brand new to rotorcraft just getting his Gyroplane add on. I would not call that experienced in rotorcraft. He probably had gathered about 75 to 80 hours in Gyroplanes including his training. But he was a decent pilot. I flew with him a couple of hours.
He was an instrument rated airplane pilot. His Gyroplane had a MGL Extreme EFIS but not an AHRS sensor. Just a GPS derived attitude which obviously isn’t always accurate. Tony only wanted to fly VFR in the gyro. There is nothing legal about IFR in a gyro and Tony had added a Sport Pilot Gyroplane rating.
Looking at ADSB report the scenario of engine out does not make sense to me though it’s not impossible. The last 2 minutes of flight ADSB shows an increase of speed from 58 knots to 76 knots and flight from 975 feet MSL to 725 feet MSL and that is where ADSB data ends. He was found one mile further in the same path in a heavily wooded swamp. If Tony had an engine out why would he increase speed by 18 knots when he already was close to best glide speed and go 2 minutes losing altitude slightly over a swamp?
Anyway, they will have to confirm the engine operation when they decide they can travel and inspect the gyro. Right now they are saying they are restricted to travel due to Covid.
Tony also owned a Tecnam with a 914 engine as well. He obviously liked that engine owning two aircraft with the same exact engine. Tony seems to have already flown off his Phase 1 hours because he had flown cross country flights outside the designated radius.