Fatal Gyro Accident in Putnam County, Fl

fara

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Am I missing something ? The pilot was at 600 feet ? His engine was said to quit at this altitude ? He increased his speed and glided 3.5 miles ?
If this is the report, it needs a more thorough look. A aircraft with less drag would have a problem checking those boxes.

The preliminary report stated the following:
After departing the area, the pilot maneuvered north of the DED for the remainder of the flight and the gyroplane remained below 1,200 ft mean sea level (msl). At 1523:23, the ADS-B data ended about 1 nautical mile south of the accident site. For the final two minutes of the data, the gyroplane flew between 950 ft msl and 725 ft msl. In addition, the groundspeed of the gyroplane increased from 58 knots to 76 knots for the last two minutes of data. According to the kit manufacturer, the gyroplane’s “general cruise” speed was 47 to 86 knots (55 to 100 mph). Concerned family members contacted the FAA and an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued about 2130 for the missing gyroplane. It was located the following morning, around 0855 in a heavily wooded state forest. A review of photographs taken by first responders revealed that the gyroplane came to rest in a densely wooded area on the left side of the fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. First responders reported that there was no odor of fuel at the accident site, and during recovery, they noted the fuel tank remained intact and contained an undetermined amount of fuel. There was no evidence of fire at the accident site. The gyroplane was recovered and retained for further examination.

The best glide of the gyroplane is around 58 knots. If there was an engine problem one would assume a trained pilot would remain at 58 knots not increase speed to 76 knots
 
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DavePA11

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Great to hear no fire even with fuel still in the tank and no odor of fuel either...
 

j4flyer

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The distance traveled indicates the gyro had some power. The increase in airspeed could have been a result of several actions 1) throttle increase 2) dropping the nose due to distraction 3) dropping the nose to attempt a landing in an identified spot
I would like to see the prop. That would confirm if the engine was under power. But, it’s another sad day in gyro land.
 

fara

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The distance traveled indicates the gyro had some power. The increase in airspeed could have been a result of several actions 1) throttle increase 2) dropping the nose due to distraction 3) dropping the nose to attempt a landing in an identified spot
I would like to see the prop. That would confirm if the engine was under power. But, it’s another sad day in gyro land.

None of us really know why speed was increased so significantly but I can tell you increasing power in an AR-1 does not increase its speed. Its high thrust line but only by 4.6 inches and given where the tail is and slight thrust angle, increase in power results in raising the nose and a slowing of airspeed of up to 4 to 8 knots depending on how abruptly power is increased. I understand this is counter to the behavior of similar looking high thrust line European models but this is what happens in an AR-1 and that is on purpose. Similarly, decreasing the power allows the nose to drop and increase speed

Edit: Increase of airspeed that significant for 2 minutes of recorded data would suggest highly that it was done using control and trim. Its true that we do not have any ADSB data for the last one mile of flight. What happened in that last one mile is unknown. It's possible that an engine out happened there somewhere. However, the last 2 minutes of recorded data shows that the pilot seems to have recognized that he needs to hurry up increase speed by 18 knots and head in a northerly direction. 725 feet MSL however is way too low over the ground over a swamp with very tall trees in my opinion. FAA and NTSB can put the engine out question to rest in less than a day if they actually worked on it.
 
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Tyger

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I would say that, in general, increasing power ought not to increase airspeed by itself.
 

Resasi

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The pilot was in deteriorating visibility probably very stressed and reportedly been looking for a road to land on in rapidly lowering fog. It is not inconceivable that he may have intentionally increased his speed to make a particular point before losing visibility altogether, misjudged it and clipped the tree tops before reaching his intended point.

Have a friend who lives in Palatka and from my recollection the area just East of the St Johns river and N of San Mateo airport has some pretty densely wooded areas and with him low and in poor viz which is rapidly reducing, he isn’t going to have much choice or time for a precautionary landing.
 
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gyrojeffro

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The faa will label this as a covid death, since the faa no longer works for we the people. Local and state bureaucracies should team up with eaa chapters to form their own investigative teams for experimental and ultralight crashes.
 
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