Honeybee fatal crash

Rando

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Taken from a FAA preliminary accident report:

1 Fatal – N125AN/Experimental Honeybee gyroplane, Monday, February 16, 2009 at 2:00pm jumped wheel chocks and crashed into a hangar at Sandy Creek Airpark, Panama City, FL (75FL).

Here is a video of the gyro taken several weeks prior to the accident.

http://www.youtube.com/user/gyropilot18
 
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automan1223

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Video

Video

I saw the video, the snow on the ground tells me its not Florida, and #2 the voice at the end tells someone its been a good machine and to "enjoy it".

I am guessing the gyro found a new owner somewhere warm and that is where the pilot who got killed ?

Not too smart starting a machine while standing on ice in running shoes.

J
 

Mike484

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I saw the video, the snow on the ground tells me its not Florida, and #2 the voice at the end tells someone its been a good machine and to "enjoy it".

I am guessing the gyro found a new owner somewhere warm and that is where the pilot who got killed ?

Not too smart starting a machine while standing on ice in running shoes.

J
That's right. The video here is of the guy selling the gyro. The guy that bought it had no training and apparantly couldn't stand to see his new "toy" just sit there and decided to try it out.
http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19868
 
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Chuck Roberg

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Thats Nick (Wop Genius) starting the gyro and Adam (Adam h) filming.

I had some time in that gyro when it had the 447 on it. I was surprised at how well it performed. With the 503 it would be a great performer.
 

MrGrey

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I saw the video, the snow on the ground tells me its not Florida, and #2 the voice at the end tells someone its been a good machine and to "enjoy it".

I am guessing the gyro found a new owner somewhere warm and that is where the pilot who got killed ?

Not too smart starting a machine while standing on ice in running shoes.

J
I am sure it will come out but that machine is from up here in the Chicago area. I am very close friends with the previous owners. It was sold to the gentleman in Florida.
 

Resasi

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Guess you just got pipped to the post there.
 

Resasi

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That is very sad. At 83 he was still trying new things out. Condolences to the family.
 

rfonseca

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I hope that if I reach 83 years I will be also trying new things. Maybe in those years we will be flying gyros that fly at hundreds of miles per hour!
 

All_In

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Me too Ramon!!
I've told my family that if I die in bed!!
Please dress me, put my boots on then put me in a high speed anything amd crash it, PLEASE!

I want to die with my boots on and living and enjoying life right up to the impact!
 

Timchick

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The accident was a ground accident. Jack was not trying to fly it.

Jack was spry for an 83 year old. He rode motorcycles for years and had only given that up a couple years ago after he dropped one in a parking lot and couldn't pick it up by himself. He said that was an indication he was getting too old to keep riding.

40 years ago Jack purchased a Bensen Rotor Blade kit. When he opened the package and saw the hundreds of screws he decided it was more of a project than he'd realized. He put the parts back in the package and put it up in the attic. He never gave up his dream of flying.

Last fall Jack called me and told me he'd seen my videos on youtube, saw I was in Panama City so he tracked me down. He wanted to see me fly my gyro and went out to the airfield one weekend and watched me fly.

He started calling me a couple times a week after that to talk about gyros and to talk about gyros he'd seen for sale on ebay, barnstormers, and the forum. He saw plenty of low rider Air Commands and old Bensens listed. He would've purchased the first gyro he found if I hadn't convinced him to slow down. I had reservations about helping him try to fly at his age but I was convinced he was going to attempt it with or without me. My number one reason for helping him was to make sure he was not going to purchase an unstable gyro that was dangerous for him to attempt to fly. My second reason was to make sure he was not going to get ripped off and by a piece of junk he'd have no chance of flying.

Adam's Honeybee was a real docile gyro and if Jack had any chance of safely flying it was a good gyro for him. Jack was going to go start lessons and had contacted an instructor. I also spoke to the instructor. If the instructor didn't feel Jack should be trying to fly he would make that clear to him.

Accident description edited
Yesterday morning Jack went over to the hangar to mess around with the gyro. The hangar owner is retired and is usually there. Unfortunately he wasn't there yesterday morning. Jack had pulled the gyro out of the hangar and had it chocked facing away from the hangar. The tire tracks in the grass indicated the gyro went forward towards the runway and then made a sharp turn to the right and headed back towards the hangar. We now believe a possible scenario is that Jack was having a hard trying to push the gyro back onto the concrete slab and into the hangar. The gyro does not have a handle in the front to help manuever it around. The ground slopes away from the hangar. We believe Jack may have tried to taxi the gyro back onto the concrete slab in front of the hangar when it got away from him. When Jack pulled his gyro out of the hangar he had only opened one half of the hangar doors. Each half folds in about 4 places and rides on rails. The doors have steel frames with fiberglass roofing sheets on them. One of the rotorblades struck the hangar door that was still closed and punched through it. The gyro then pivoted around the lodged blade, swung into the hangar and struck the inside of the closed door. The nosewheel punched through the fiberglass panel on that door. The impact bent the seat brackets idicating Jack may have still been in the seat upon impact. The gyro ended up leaning toward the side with the rotor blade stuck in the door and the other side was suspended up off the floor. Jack may have unbuckled his seat belt and fallen out of the seat and as he was getting up he may have been dazed and got into the prop. Another theory is he may have been thrown out of the seat when the gyro spun around and he got into the prop as he got up off the floor. We are not real sure. They believe he was killed instantly.
 
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Steve McGowan

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I had spoken to Jack Hopson a few weeks ago. At that time I learned of his age and his desire to learn to fly gyro's, and to the fact that he had already purchased a machine.

I had expressed to Jack to NOT Attempt to fly his gyro, but to first come to Macon and get training in the Black and work towards his desire to fly his gyro.

Bad weather last week had stopped Jack from comin to Macon and we were planning for him to come next week since he could only stay one night. He never said why, that was just his wishes.

I did see the posting last night of the death of an 83 year old but didn't put it together it was Jack. I called his house this evening around 7;30 or so and ask to speak with Jack.. His wife ask who was I, and I told her Steve McGowan, she said that Jack was not there, I ask could she give him a message that I had called. And that we needed to re-schedule as soon as the weather got better.
Her answer was that "Jack would Not be Back because he is dead".
Needless to say,, I hit the floor wondering and asking what had happened.
Jacks wife explained the best that she knew how.

After talking to her I called Tim Chick,, still not wanting to believing what I had been told.

I still cannott and do not want to believe that this has happened. I had looked forward to meeting Jack, His voice and Joy over the phone was of a much younger person. He was in full agreement of everything I suggested about progressing into his dreams of flying. His joy was extremley noticeable of getting started with his life long dream to fly gyro's. We talked over an hour as to how we would be training, And he also understood the dangers associated with it.

My heart goes out to Jacks wife and family, I truly wish that someway this could have been avoided.

Steve
 
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Minnesota_Mike

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I really hate hearing about somebody getting hurt...worse...killed.

I did not know "JacK" ...he sounded like quite an inspiring man for his age, but I feel for his family. Jacks' actions took him into a zone where none without training should EVER be. It is a very sad ending to a quite likely super guy.

As a newbie myself, I REALLY THINK that a story such as this should be "pinned" within a permanent thread titled something to the effect of: "Newbie...you think you can handle a Gyro without training?" READ THESE STORIES FIRST.
(The "Confession Time" thread story should also be added and all others related to safety or close calls).

The probable unfolding of unlikely events highlighted in each of these stories illustrates some of what can possibly go wrong that is so elementry and avoidable...and underscores WHY PROPER TRAINING IS A MUST...ABSOLUTELY A REQUIRED MUST....!!!!!!
We are all HUMAN AND FALLIBLE...prone to mistakes that can kill us if not properly educated to avoid such mistakes....none are exempt from their own stupidity.

I learn alot and spend time reflecting on the events described everytime I read these stories...and it underscores to me (and I sincerely hope others) just how very MUCH WE CAN LOOSE if we fail to TAKE HEED to the voices and admonition's of those with experience.
Since our loved one's feel the pain most acutely in the end...maybe thinking of THEM FIRST will help keep some of us safe from our own (willful) "abilities".
 

NoWingsAttached

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Chris Burgess once told me,"Take your lessons BEFORE you buy." Sage advice. Training begins with the very act of getting in and strapping down.
 

All_In

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Chris Burgess once told me,"Take your lessons BEFORE you buy." Sage advice. Training begins with the very act of getting in and strapping down.
That's what I'm going to do. I don't trust myself, not to fly to early.
 

Hognose

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Mike and all,

it wasn't stupidity, and I don't think that's really what you meant. It was ignorance -- it was not disregarding things he knew or should have known, but not knowing things he had no way of knowing he needed to know. What Rumsfeld famously called the "unknown unknowns." ("Known unknowns" are facts you are aware you don't know. "Unknown unknowns" are facts you don't know but aren't even aware you need to know).

Psychological researchers have recently demonstrated that people almost always estimate their skill at something incorrectly, and further, that most people think they're just above average at most things. Only the few who are just above average at something are right. True experts often underestimate their skill (saying they're just above average). Experts are aware how much there is to know. But beginners often underestimate how much there is to learn. So they wander out on the thin ice, not knowing how to tell the ice is thin or why thin ice is hazardous.

Careful education is the only answer. But here is a fellow who sought out and took good advice and sought out and was going to train with a competent instructor. And still managed to make the four mistakes Tim describes, without, most likely, having any idea that these were mistakes.

cheers

-=K=-
 

Timchick

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Well said, Kevin. It's easy for people to say Jack was doing something he had no business doing. How many people have done the very same thing Jack was doing before they received their first lesson. Jack was doing the same thing a lot of people have done. He was getting familiar with his gyro. He just wasn't aware that Murphy lurks closer to us in our sport. Our sport is fun and rewarding but it is very unforgiving of mistakes.
 

Minnesota_Mike

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Spare me the analysis of SYMANTICS HERE please...I'm not ripping on a man I never knew...if you think that's what I'm up to...READ THE POST AGAIN.
I'm not calling anyone names, nor am I parsing what he "may have done" right- wrong or otherwise.

I'm writing to- and for the benefit of OTHER NEWBIES here in the forum (like myself) in an attempt to sound a LOUD warning they might hear and be capable of taking to heart....and I MADE A SUGGESTION as to a fixed thread containing such stories for SAFETY'S SAKE....for all to learn from and hopefully take heed of.

Ignorance...Stupidity.....call it what you care to...it was a preventable situation hindered by an absence of proper training.
 
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All_In

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I specifically waited to buy my machine because I knew if it was sitting there I would get impatient and tempted!
After talking to you Rob, were a lot alike!

No I can wait only as long as I don't have one and I know way too much about training not to get soloed and then bring my bird back to my instructor to get checked out and only then I'll know what I don't know I need to know now?

After talking to the best of the best, I'm going to get the gyro with the fastest prerotator I can, looks like it's going to be a butterfly, from our own Doug!!!

PS:
I'll make it up to Ernie by getting a two place Dom from him!!
 
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fiveboy

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Addendum

Addendum

....and then bring my bird back to my instructor to get checked out and only then I'll know what I don't know I need to know now?
John you and I are a lot alike (though I think we occassionally part ways politically but inasmuch as politics is an artifice relative to real human interaction.... who cares!?).

I cannot over state how much I learned and how many items my CFI Chris Burgess taught me to be aware of in going over my machine. At first he tried to make it seem as though it was strictly because he would be aboard... but over time I came to realize it was also because he wanted me to learn and understand and be safe. Whenever I thanked him for the many many hours he provided me support and guidance he would say it was part of what I had paid for in engaging him as my CFI. I still see it as otherwise and am indebted forever. A competent and experienced gyro CFI going through your machine in detail is critical. We found things (like the spindle bolt loose and the head at the wrong angle!) that would have escaped a less critical eye and eventually had me kiss the ground. I am now a super critical preflite pilot, as well as a conservative flier.

Anyone buying a new machine must have it vetted IMO. To do otherwise is to play Russian Roulette... in the air.
 
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