Fatal in France

Monarchist

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The stock photo shows an MTO Sport...was this an MTO crash or did the writer just pick a random gyro picture?
 

Pim

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53 year old man and 63 year old male instructor died on sunday in an ELA Gyrocopter in the region of Seine-et-Marne, north of France, near Paris.
Instructor was capable of instructing for A330 and A340 (jetplanes). The student seems to have had extensive previous flying experience
Upon impact on the runway, the gyrocopter caught fire. No cause is known.

In February 2013 an 80 year old man had been fatally crushed under a hangglider on that same airstrip.
 

Gogona

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I don't know French good enough, just very basics.
But as I understand from this discussion, there was a witness of the crash.
In a nutshell:
On the short final gyro pitched down abruptly and went down. So they suspect that one of the occupants suddenly felt bad and leaned on the control stick, cause they were fastened with just a lap belts only. That leaded to PPO (if I guess correctly - he mentioned "cloche" what means "bell") and the second pilot, definitely, had no chance to regain the control.
But again, it's just a speculation.
 

twistair

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That leaded to PPO (if I guess correctly - he mentioned "cloche" what means "bell")
This sounds unlikely. I understood that "Enfin, quelle que soit la cause, il s'agit bien d'une cloche" should mean something like "whatever was the reason of this crash, this sounds like a wake-up call".
 

Gogona

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This sounds unlikely. I understood that "Enfin, quelle que soit la cause, il s'agit bien d'une cloche" should mean something like "whatever was the reason of this crash, this sounds like a wake-up call".
Maybe you are right, cause I don't know what exactly did he mean. However, I just did a quick search on the Internet, and find out, that french speakers do use this term in relation to a PIO/PPO problem: http://autogire.nuxit.net/page16.html
 

Pim

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What this person said

Hervé TERRASSON said:
L'origine de l'accident pourrait être un malaise du pilote (ou de son instructeur, quoique celui-ci soit médicalement très suivi de par sa profession), n'ayant que des ceintures ventrales, le manche aurait pu être poussé en avant violemment laissant aucune chance à nos pilotes.
Enfin, quelle que soit la cause, il s'agit bien d'une cloche. La machine ne semble pas en cause, malgré ses 700 h elle revenait d'une révision générale chez le constructeur.
The cause of the accident could have been a pilot error (or the instructors although this his medical history is closely monitored) but with only hip belts it could have been a sudden lapse forward without chance to correct by the pilots.

Continueing:
Hervé TERRASSON said:
Enfin, quelle que soit la cause, il s'agit bien d'une cloche. La machine ne semble pas en cause, malgré ses 700 h elle revenait d'une révision générale chez le constructeur.
And, while we don't know the cause, it rings a bell. The machine might not be at fault, as it had recently returned from a 700 hour overhaul from the manufacturer.

Sidenote from me: Such overhauls might sometimes be a cause because of errors of mechanics involved, not rare to see that.

What does concern me however is the way he describes the current fatality rate in general aviation in France.
'only 24 deaths in the past year, where Gyrocopters strike gold with only 5 with 550 active regular users and 900 not so common users.' Now that would not make me feel at ease, but he sees it as less then 1% who got killed.

I still keep having the feeling that the majority of the gyrocopter users are not taking safety really serious and walking the talk here, flying very basic gyrocopters and/ or not having additional safety measures in place to protect them in case of fire or impact to the ground (yes, i realize that costs about 5000 dollar or more)
 
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helipaddy

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Why would an Ela go to the manufacturer for a 700 hr overhaul. It's not called up in the maintenance manual.
 

Pim

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I think there might have been some issues which where not fully repaired/ diagnosed properly causing the later crash. But generally speaking, many gyrocopter parts are needing an overhaul well before their manual stated time to do so. Especially when they are used in teaching and/ or frequent temperature changes of 20 degrees or more Celsius or the gyrocopters are using in either tropical or artic conditions.

It is sadly also quite obvious that many gyro manufacturers have not yet gotten their quality control up to a very high standards like in the automotive industry. Use of computer controls to inform about any issues inside the gyrocopter is also something which is very very limited in use unlike in the automotive industry.
The gyrocopter manufacturing in relation to the automotive industry stands as a toddler to a fully grown up.
 

ArnaudHP

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in this case "cloche" means bunt-over and/or PPO as in French it's the same word to describe both.
According to the eye witness (I don't know personnally), I would say it was a bunt-over in final following a loss of consciousness of one person aboard (either student or FI).
I will keep you informed if I can gather more details
 

helipaddy

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Let me get this straight. Secondhand information from an "eyewitness" who you don't know causes you to formulate a theory that the pilot suffered some form of medical incapacitation?

I don't buy this "pilot incapacitation" theory at all.

I hope the French air accident branch do an investigation, but I'm not sure if they investigate ULM accidents.
 

twistair

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The simpliest and exact would be to ask maitre Terrason what did he actually mean under "cloche" in his phrase. Anyway I'd like to thank Olga for commenting about this word meaning in French gyro world.

As for the possible cause(s) of the accident - I totally agree with helipaddy: we practically have no information to the moment to make any conclusions.

The only thing which gimlets me last time is that there were some (at least 4 come to mind in brief) accidents in Europe for last couple years which ended more or less similarly: sudden fall on final. And all these accidents were not with questionable design homebuilts but with known models built in hundreds.

Hopefully ELA company finds it possible to comment. Or probably the airclub where unlucky Philip started to instruct gyros in September only.
 
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ArnaudHP

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I don't buy this theory either, I was only reporting it, as well as explaining the meaning of "cloche" !
I find the "medical incapacitation theory" is often an easy explanation of a crash... that gets sometimes confirmed by post-mortem medical examination, but not always.
This accident reminds Andy Tile's fatal...
 

greeny

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Lost in translation

Lost in translation

What does concern me however is the way he describes the current fatality rate in general aviation in France.
'only 24 deaths in the past year, where Gyrocopters strike gold with only 5 with 550 active regular users and 900 not so common users.' Now that would not make me feel at ease, but he sees it as less then 1% who got killed.
Hervé writes: ".. presque 1%, ce qui est énorme!"

That means he considers a 1% fatality rate outrageous - as most of us probably do.

mfg Peter
 

Pim

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There are several options to go with making the rate of deaths go down.
- Greatly improve the quality control with all manufacturers.
- Improve the availability of safety measures like seatbelt airbags, small fire surpressant boxes and the like.
- Transponders and situational awareness systems should become more standard.
- Decrease the amount of very basic gyrocopters and home build versions (professional build should really take a giant leap for that to happen).
- Increase the safety wear being used in open gyros. In my perspective it should be that people wear appropriate clothing for using a high speed open type vehicle. Clothing which does protect from flames and reduces effects of impact. I know they are there, and darn expensive for sure (professional bike racers wear that kind of safety wear). But if you are serious about reducing mortality rate, that is the way to go.
- Have the pre flight check be mandatory on all gyrocopters. Also home built ones.
- Increase the requirements for regular flying. 6 hours per year solo flight as minimum is WAY too low. People who fly that little really are a hazard to others flying. That will decrease the interest perhaps from quite some non regular users, but is that bad? I am pretty sure it will make the general perception of safety a lot better.
- There really has to be a manufacturer standing up and making a gyro with higher then LSA registration with a minimum of 120 kg take off weight per seat and a speed of not less then 250 kilometers per hour cruise speed. That way the commercial interest in gyrocopter can become an interesting lift up and will take the gyrocopter out of the sole recreational and instructional flight into real commercial interest. Seeing that Cessna and the like have produced thousands of airplanes currently in use as bush planes, makes it a field of interest for a gyrocopter, which can outperform a FW easily in tropical, arctic and other difficult terrain situations.
 
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