I agree the gyroplane accident rate is too high;

Vance

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I work hard every day to make flying gyroplanes safer and collaborate with other flight instructors on what we can do to make it safer.

I agree that the gyroplane accident rate is too high and would prefer lower insurance rates.
I feel I can see the reasons for each of these accidents.
What I don’t know is what to do to improve the gyroplane accident rate.

Looking the eleven accidents reported to the NTSB last year I don’t see a common thread.


To briefly summarize:

A student pilot with 18 hours was flying in in 11kts gusting to 22kts had a hard landing turning base to final. I don’t know what his sign off wind limits were. I typically use 5kts.

A Cavilon with a 915 on its very fist takeoff. The pilot had eighty hours in Cavalons so I doubt more training would have helped. Transition training might have helped.

Two appear to me to be medical issues.

There was another Cavalon crash on takeoff where it appears the pilot tried to rotate at sixty knots by applying aft cyclic. He probably would not have passed his check ride if he didn’t know how to take off. It is a preliminary report so there is no hours shown.

There was a student pilot flying low and had an engine out and did not find a suitable place to land. It appears his landing technique was good.

A student crashed while attempting to land. I feel the student pilot’s report of what happened is revealing:

“The gyroplane pilot reported that during landing, the gyroplane was too high above the runway. He attempted to, "cushion the landing" by forcing the nose up as he, "gunned the engine a couple of times." The fluctuations in torque turned the nose of the gyroplane to the right, and he corrected with a hard-left rudder application. He recalled that the additional thrust from the engine gunning, increased the gyroplanes airspeed.”

There was an MTO Sport who made a landing because his tablet that he was using for navigation failed and was not able to clear the trees on takeoff. Pilot had 199 hours in this make and model.

There was an AR1 who began his takeoff roll at a little over 100 rotor rpm and hit the tail. He had 199 hours in this make and model. He had flown three hours in the last 24 hours.

There was a landing accident in a 1997 RAF with 232 hours on her with an 85 year old pilot who admitted he had not flown in a while.

There was a Parsons two place that appears to be a mechanical failure.

If you see something that could be done to lower the accident rate please share it.
 
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Tyger

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Hang on... a pilot was not able to clear trees on takeoff because his navigation tablet failed??
 

Vance

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10/12/2019, 1530 CDT
The pilot reported that while inflight, his electronic tablet he was utilizing for navigation failed. The pilot decided to land to a field in a private ranch and troubleshoot the electronic tablet. After troubleshooting the tablet, the pilot departed from the field to the northwest.
During the takeoff toward an opening in the trees, the pilot realized that was not adequate obstacle clearance.
He turned to the south and the gyroplane impacted trees. After impacting the trees, the gyroplane came to rest in a nose-down profile on the left side of the fuselage as shown below in figure. I could not figure out how to post the picture. It is in the report. He had a passenger.
 

Resasi

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With the amount of time he had in that type one would have hoped that he did some form of preliminary calculations before taking off from a strange new ‘field?

Particularly so if it was indeed a field rather that a prepared surface, and it appears, with obstacles at the end?

It rather sounds as though he might have done this in any kind of light aircraft, so seemingly a clear case of poor judgement.

As with any form of transport be it roller skates, scooter, bicycle, motor bike, car, plane, or gyro there are always going to be people who will demonstrate low competence, poor judgement, and idiocy... and some forms of transport do require more skill to operate than others.

With the last point in mind I would hazard a guess, that with a given number of people, more would fall off a unicycle than a bicycle.
 
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WaspAir

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There is another discussion of that particular accident here:


I was surprised by the "engine gunning" student pilot story, as it seems a go-around with advanced throttle might have cured the whole thing.

The only common thread I see is poor judgment/decision making in many of these accidents, although the particular decisions made are in several distinct contexts.
 
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Vance

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I was surprised by the "engine gunning" student pilot story, as it seems a go-around with advanced throttle might have cured the whole thing.

The only common thread I see is poor judgment/decision making in many of these accidents, although the particular decisions made are in several distinct contexts.
I found it disquieting that he felt gunning the engine made the gyroplane go faster.

I agree that the most common thread in these mishaps is poor aviation decision making.

I work hard at teaching people to think before they fly.
 

Vance

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With the amount of time he had in that type one would have hoped that he did some form of preliminary calculations before taking off from a strange new ‘field?

Particularly so if it was indeed a field rather that a prepared surface, and it appears, with obstacles at the end?

It rather sounds as though he might have done this in any kind of light aircraft, so seemingly a clear case of poor judgement.

As with any form of transport be it roller skates, scooter, bicycle, motor bike, car, plane, or gyro there are always going to be people who will demonstrate low competence, poor judgement, and idiocy... and some forms of transport do require more skill to operate than others.

With the last point in mind I would hazard a guess, that with a given number of people, more would fall off a unicycle than a bicycle.
I have found that many pilots of all sorts of aircraft don't do performance calculations at all.
 

Illini85

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My Drivers Ed teacher taught me "When In Doubt DON"T". It has probably saved my live a few times. Have taught to all my children as they were learning to drive. It releases you from the mental burden of expectations, your and others, and gives you that short pause to check your own confidence in the situation at hand.
 

WaspAir

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Earlier in my flying career, I tried the guideline, "fly as if you had an FAA Inspector onboard", which worked pretty well for me. More recently, I find I sometimes question a plan or decision with "how would this look in an NTSB report?"

The important thing is to stay humble in the face of physics and Mother Nature, and keep in mind that all gyro flights are optional.
 
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TyroGyro

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The best answer yet devised to the original question


May explain why the UK is among the safest countries - and maybe even THE safest country - in the World in which to fly gyros....
 
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Vance

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The best answer yet devised to the original question


May explain why the UK is among the safest countries - and maybe THE safest country - in the World in which to fly gyros....
I don't have statistics to validate your claim of the UK being among the safest country or the safest country in the world in which to fly a gyroplane.

I have seen training videos from the UK that in my opinion are seriously technically flawed and contain some bad advice.

Phil Harwood is a friend of mine and I am working at incorporating Gyropedia into my training syllabus.

I support what he is trying to do and feel it will have a positive impact.

I am not certain how many of these accidents could have been prevented with the Gyropedia program.

Even one would make it a worthwhile addition to a training syllabus.

The ones that appear to be the most obvious (3) to benefit from better training may not be what they appear. According to my sources the knowledge was presented to each of them and was rejected. Please don’t ask me to elaborate as it is just gossip.

Phil and I have interacted at length and we agree it is all about the details.

He and I have very different styles.

I emphasize aviation decision making from day one where Phil works to build a foundation of stick and rudder skills before introducing aviation decision making, navigation and weather.
 

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Vance

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Earlier in my flying career, I tried the guideline, "fly as if you had an FAA Inspector onboard", which worked pretty well for me. More recently, I find I sometimes question a plan or decision with "how would this look in an NTSB report?"

The important thing is to stay humble in the face of physics and Mother Nature, and keep in mind that all gyro flights are optional.
I do the same thing J.R. with special emphasis on VFR (visual flight rules) into IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) and flying with a known defect.

I am careful about my own condition too using the
The I'M SAFE Checklist

I - Illness. The FAA requires most pilots to possess a valid medical certificate for flight, but the occasional medical exam every five years doesn't cover illness such as colds and flu. ...

M - Medication. With illness, it's mostly clear when a pilot should or shouldn't fly. ...

S - Stress. ...

A - Alcohol. ...

F - Fatigue. ...

E - Emotion.
 
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TyroGyro

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Hi Vance,

in the UK the "E" stands for "have you Eaten?" (and had a drink)

"Emotion" would be filed under "S" for Stress....
 

TyroGyro

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I will try to answer each in turn, Vance

My analysis only refers to the following machines worldwide

AutoGyto-GmbH
Magni-Gyro
ELA-Aviacion

collectively I will call them the "Big-3 Eurotubs"

They are the mature worldwide market-dominators, by far, as far as I can see. Estimated 6000 machines brought to market since ~2004 (albeit Magni started very, very slowly in the early 1990s)

I don't have statistics to validate your claim of the UK being among the safest country or the safest country in the world in which to fly a gyroplane.
FATAL ACCIDENTS (to date, based on the best available data)
CountryFatal Accidents
France22
South Africa12
Spain10
Germany6
Australia5
UK3
Sweden2
USA2
Russia1
Italy1
Belgium1
Lithuania1
Kazakhstan1
UAE1
Saudi Arabia1
Iran1
Poland1
Japan1
Finland1
Hungary1
Total73
Now, it is often said "if you torture the numbers enough, they will confess to anything". Which is true.



So, I will 'fess that while I have undergraduate statistical training, and love numbers, I am not a professional statistician.

And we do not have all the data required for a conclusive analysis, such as exact penetration of the Big-3 in each country's gyro market. But we know anecdotally that in the US it is low, due to the only recent entry of the Big-3 there and a historical legacy of the many homebuilds there being the gyrocopter norm. In contrast, I suspect that in most European countries at least, the Big-3 now comprise the vast majority of the gyros that are in the air.

So we need to consider penetration as well as population, but the US is probably a distinct outlier in terms of penetration.

Considering the 3 UK fatals
2009: angry civilian decided to risk his head against a spinning gyro prop. He lost...
2011: new Magni pilot suffered a door opening in flight, which would not ordinarily endanger the aircraft. However, he appeared to disregard radio commands from his instructor on the ground, and rolled the aircraft into the ground.
2016: 80-year old pilot crashed on take-off, the autopsist discovering significant cardiovascular degeneration, recording heart-attack or similar as the most likely cause of the otherwise inexplicable accident.

So, in 2 of the three both the gyro and pilot were blameless, and the third [2011] could be ascribed simply to extreme bad luck.

It is also notable that in the UK no FI/CFI has been killed (obviously from the above), but neither has any been involved in any serious accident, a statistic that cannot be said of almost all of the other countries with more than 1 accident.

While these facts are not conclusive, they are highly suggestive that the UK is, comparatively, a safe(r) place in which to enjoy this sport.
 
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Vance

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I will try to answer each in turn, Vance

My analysis only refers to the following machines worldwide

AutoGyto-GmbH
Magni-Gyro
ELA-Aviacion

collectively I will call them the "Big-3 Eurotubs"

They are the mature worldwide market-dominators, by far, as far as I can see. Estimated 6000 machines brought to market since ~2004 (albeit Magni started very, very slowly in the early 1990s)



FATAL ACCIDENTS (to date, based on the best available data)
CountryFatal Accidents
France20
South Africa12
Spain10
Germany6
Australia5
UK3
Sweden2
USA2
Russia1
Italy1
Belgium1
Lithuania1
Kazakhstan1
UAE1
Saudi Arabia1
Iran1
Poland1
Japan1
Finland1
Hungary1
Total71
Now, it is often said "if you torture the numbers enough, they will confess to anything". Which is true.






So, I will 'fess that while I have undergraduate statistical training, and love numbers, I am not a professional statistician.

And we do not have all the data required for a conclusive analysis, such as exact penetration of the Big-3 in each country's gyro market. But we know anecdotally that in the US it is low, due to the only recent entry of the Big-3 there and a historical legacy of the many homebuilds there being the gyrocopter norm. In contrast, I suspect that in most European countries at least, the Big-3 now comprise the vast majority of the gyros that are in the air.

So we need to consider penetration as well as population, but the US is probably a distinct outlier in terms of penetration.

Considering the 3 UK fatals
2009: angry civilian decided to risk his head against a spinning gyro prop. He lost...
2011: new Magni pilot suffered a door opening in flight, which would not ordinarily endanger the aircraft. However, he appeared to disregard radio commands from his instructor on the ground, and rolled the aircraft into the ground.
2016: 80-year old pilot crashed on take-off, the autopsist discovering significant cardiovascular degeneration, recording heart-attack or similar as the most likely cause of the otherwise inexplicable accident.

So, in 2 of the three both the gyro and pilot were blameless, and the third [2011] could be ascribed simply to extreme bad luck.

It is also notable that in the UK no FI/CFI has been killed (obviously from the above), but neither has any been involved in any serious accident, a statistic that cannot be said of almost all of the other countries with more than 1 accident.

While these facts are not conclusive, they are highly suggestive that the UK is, comparatively, a safe(r) place in which to enjoy this sport.
In my opinion anything short of hours flown per fatal accident would be inconclusive.

Because of the low numbers I feel some sort of consistent statistical regression would need to be used to get meaningful world wide data.

I can see your numbers for the USA do not reflect what I know to be the fatalities.

We had two just in the year I presented here; in my opinion both were medical related..

The NTSB shows twenty five fatal accidents in the last ten years in the USA.
 
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JETLAG03

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@TyroGyro interesting data but as you say lacks substance. We need time period, number of machines in each country, number of hours collectively flown in each country to make these numbers anything other than "just numbers" respectfully Phil
 

TyroGyro

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In my opinion anything short of hours flown per fatal accident would be inconclusive.

Because of the low numbers I feel some sort of consistent statistical regression would need to be used to get meaningful world wide data.

I can see your numbers for the USA do not reflect what I know to be the fatalities.

We had two just in the year I presented here in my opinion both were medical related..

The NTSB shows twenty five fatal accidents in the last ten years in the USA.
Or, more usually, #fatals/100k hours, as is used in commercial passenger aviation statistics. I agree.
Estimates are required, and it becomes something of a "Fermi" question. "How many piano tuners in Chicago"?, etc.

In the UK, from available stats, I estimate an average annual 80 hours flown per gyro. The median is about 50 hours. As we would expect, the average is skewed upwards by a small number of pilots (i.e. instructors) flying a lot of hours. How does that sound compared to the US?

I have in my database 2 US fatal accidents. [remember, I am only considering the Big-3 Eurotubs. I do not have the resources to do others, and they have the dominant world market share, with the US an acknowledged outlier]

Calidus N221YT, South Carolina, 2018
Cavalon N198LT, Florida, 2018 [pilot a CFI]

If you know of others fitting my dataset criteria, please let me know.
 
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