I agree the gyroplane accident rate is too high;

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,219
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Probably effects the numbers, France has a much more relaxed system of regulation for microlight than probably anywhere else, I think.

We have a declarative set of rules and regulations putting the onus squarely on the shoulders of the pilot for any works on the craft and its airworthiness.

Does your data include only deaths involving the "big 3"? and does there exist data giving numbers for death/accidents due to
A: Pilot error
B: Machine failure

Again, I am guesssing that the huge part is pilot error.
You bring up a good point Phil.

In my opinion there are simply not enough accident statistics to draw conclusions.

That is why I started with so few accidents so people could think about each accident understanding that it may involve the pilot, his training and his maintenance.

I suspect the pilot who hit the trees on takeoff won’t do that again.

He will probably be less likely to make off field landings and will probably consider his takeoff performance more carefully next time.

Because I read the information on the crash carefully I am reminded of each of these lessons.

Life is too short for me to make all the mistakes myself.

I am reminded to instruct my clients that an off airport landing has many hazards and it is possible to land in a place where takeoff is not possible.

I also teach them to plan their flights so if their electronic navigation fails they can visually continue their course.

I continue to be amazed at the different ways people to find to destroy their gyroplanes.

I find value in identifying what they forgot based on what they tell the FAA after they have had some time to think about what happened.

I feel the fellow who gunned his engine several times to cushion a landing and found that made the gyroplane go faster is a good example.

I want my clients to know that the throttle controls altitude and the cyclic controls airspeed.

I want my clients to understand the landing process in a way that would preclude such an incident.

I want my clients to know that a high thrust line gyroplane will pitch nose down when power is added and pitch nose up when power is removed.

How to express these simple lessons in a way they will be remembered when the situation presents itself is the challenge I struggle with.
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
296
Location
London
Sure but read post 36. The POH for the common AutoGyro and Magni aircraft has very limited data, add to which it requires techniques that are quite "sharp" (i.e. you get on with it accurately with a "good" technique.)

If you do nothing more than go onto YouTube and look at how people take off and using time to take off and airspeed you can see on the ASI at that point using some very basic maths you can see the distance being used. If you consider that the POH data is at MAUW and the data you see for yourself that the technique to fly the book numbers is going to be very different to what is being done day to day.

So in the context of "why do gyroplanes crash" well IMO this is part of the issue. It isn't just that people don't fly that often, the kicker is that they don't take off in a manner that allows them good margin that often.

 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,219
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I am going to get hung for my comments ....that said I do not agree with all you have to say with respect.
Can you table an amount of hours flown in a gyro in the UK against other countries? you saying 'quote' I also believe that the UK is one of the safest countries to fly a gyro in ...this is a very interesting comment? One fact we all know is the UK is envied for it all year round fantastic flying Wx;)

We must further examine the type of flying that is done in other countries? I am not familiar with exactly apart from recreational flying in the UK what else they do with gyro?
In SA (and a few other places I have been privileged to fly in) gyroplanes have been used for various types of operations including power line inspection anti Poaching, and crop spraying, (to mention a few) this type of flying adds significant risks and will quickly blurr the figures.

The comments you make regarding IAPGT are also very interesting? I have flown gyro long before the introduction of this training aid, I use the word training aid, as the little exposure I have to it this what I have seen it is? its a nice tool for an instructor who has many students in a class and enables him/her to monitor via electronic media the students progress log book entries and compliance.
That does not make it better than the training we use or used before this platform was developed IMO. What makes safe Pilots is discipline and the in depth training he receives from the outset, its the instructors duty to demonstrate discipline and knowledge in a one on one during the students Pilot training syllabus.
I do not believe that any program or software platform makes gyroplane flying safer or more safe than methods of training we have used in the past, and while Im not knocking the Gyropedia it certainly does not make the Pilot, his training and culture instilled by his instructor brings those qualities to the table.


The day ticking boxes on a computer screen makes safer Pilots is yet to be tested, Gyropedia certainly brings in very nice training aids and once accepted as a world wide standard will make an instructors work a bit easier but will it make Pilots safer?

Safety is a culture not a Program,.. in flying in driving in handling of firearms
In my opinion your comments on IAPGT rather miss the point.

It may be that you are a wonderful instructor and never miss a thing.

Gyropedia is structured so that all instructors don’t miss anything.

There are lots of new gyroplane pilots that require new gyroplane flight instructors.

I feel teaching to a standard has value and as I explore Gyropedia I find things I could do better.

It is a collaboration of instructors from around the world so it is an opportunity for you to share what you have learned with the training community.

For me it allows me to examine what I teach in a structured way.

In my interactions with Phil Harwood he is always working to find a way to teach with the least likelihood of a mishap and he listens.

Phil is also working on ways for an insurance company to evaluate a prospective client.

I agree that aviation safety is a culture of risk mitigation.
 
Last edited:

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
I have seen training videos from the UK that in my opinion are seriously technically flawed and contain some bad advice.
I think posting explicit "training" videos in the wild is a BAD idea, without prominent and heavy caveats placarded all over them.

Last year I had a guy contact me. He had been for one trial flight, and was excited about it all.

He had then scoured YouTube, etc, and had it all figured out.... Even to the extent of sending me his written "checklists" for how to take off and land...
Full of holes, of course. He really seemed to believe this would somehow shorten his training.

I warned him firmly that this was NOT the way to go, although there was nothing wrong with additional cautious research.

But
He must FORGET for the time being everything he had seen.
He must LISTEN to his instructor first, and only start discussions some way into his training.
There was no way to avoid the HARD YARDS that are required in learning to fly an aircraft, especially a niche aircraft like a gyro, and he should prepare himself mentally for those hard yards, and the inevitable frustrations he would encounter along the way.

Not heard from him since...:)

In highly-regulated places like the UK, risks are probably minimal.

But ... the whole world can see YouTube, And there have been a couple of fatal incidents in Japan and Poland

Zero recorded training, unregistered craft, illegal operations, uncommanded takeoffs, etc.

Darwin will always win, I guess.
 

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
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.
That is good to hear Vance. I mentioned to Phil three years ago that you were receptive and proactive, with aligned goals.
We are all glad of your input from the USA.
 

Brent Drake

Gyroplane Instructor
Joined
Jun 15, 2004
Messages
2,060
Location
Shelbyville, Indiana
Aircraft
Pipers/Cessna's/gyro's
Total Flight Time
3,000+
Cavalons tip easy. I'm told 51% have tipped over.

The PRA is working on a cost reduced insurance policy wit ha substantial reduction. But the insured will have to have an instructor signoff.
 

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
Probably effects the numbers, France has a much more relaxed system of regulation for microlight than probably anywhere else, I think.

We have a declarative set of rules and regulations putting the onus squarely on the shoulders of the pilot for any works on the craft and its airworthiness.

Does your data include only deaths involving the "big 3"? and does there exist data giving numbers for death/accidents due to
A: Pilot error
B: Machine failure

Again, I am guesssing that the huge part is pilot error.
Yes, Big-3 only, JETLAG03. If I had a spare brain and a spare life, I could look at others, but alas, I don't...;)

Big-3 would seem the sensible place to start, in any case, as they dominate the market, and most new pilots, in Europe certainly, will be flying one of these machines, or a very similar clone from a smaller manufacturer.

Yes, I systematically look at fatals, principally because

a) it is the norm in evaluating the safety of transportation. Death is kind of non-negotiable, so it interests potential participants more.
b) a non-fatal accident could be anything from hangar-rash up to something that was 1 millimetre away from being a fatal. Too wide a scope to generalise from.
c) fatals tend to be better investigated and documented. Difficult to hide, in other words. While fatals are still difficult to find [believe me], the data for all non-fatals is essentially unknowable, due to differing reporting standards across the world.

That is not to say I'm not interested in non-fatals ! Of course I am, and I also study them. Just it is an impossible task to systematically analyse them, certainly for one person alone...

The short answer to your question about the data is.

1) machine failure is almost unheard of. A guy who flew into a tornado above Spain, and incorrect, slipshod home maintenance in Australia. And that's about it...
2) Aside from medical events in elderly pilots, and a very tiny handful of unresolved accidents, the rest (and tbh, including the two above) are all pilot error, not only wrong inputs, but very often poor aeronautical decision making. Wire and tree strikes, engine failure inside the Dead-Man's curve, extreme manoeuvres by the inexperienced and over-confident, mid-airs (France), Hot/High/Humid/Overweight, Mountain rotor, insecure helmet or cargo...

I truly believe the modern gyro is the safest powered light aircraft in the world. As one analyst said. "Gyros don't kill people; people kill gyros..."

I have learned about all these causes, not only from my own research, but also from the Gyropedia and IAPGT which take pains to highlight them.

I reckon if we could eliminate the causes I have listed, the fatal accident rate would fall by 80%, leaving just medical events - and the handful of Darwin Award Finalists who spurn training and the law altogether.
 
Last edited:

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,684
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
I truly believe the modern gyro is the safest powered aircraft in the world.
I think you left out a very important word: potentially safest is probably what you really meant.

The stats are full of actual deaths. Potential safety that goes unrealized is worthless. In practice, every transport category jet since the DeHaviland Comet has done far better than most any popular gyro, as have reliable GA favorites like the Cessna 172 and Bell JetRanger (using almost any measure you might pick, such as deaths per seat mile, deaths per 100,000 hours, airframe losses, etc.).

Compare gyros even to the notorious Boeing 737 Max and they will come out poorly. According to Wikipedia, the Max had a spectacular early record:

After one year of service, 130 MAXs had been delivered to 28 customers, logging over 41,000 flights in 118,000 hours and flying over 6.5 million passengers.

That's a tough standard for a gyro to meet.

Eventually there came two infamous Max accidents, attributed to lack of crew training on new features, with crew inability to handle what amounted to a runaway trim failure, and the whole fleet was grounded to protect the public. The crew made the difference.

But given an adequately trained pilot in each, which would you feel safer in, a 737 Max or a gyro?

The stats might still favor the Boeing.

ATPs in line service generally don't do stupid things intentionally. I wish we could say the same for gyro pilots.

The most important thing I ever gleaned from any of the instructors who trained me was a matter of mental attitude, not skills or procedures. I was lucky enough to have a safety mindset instilled in me by glider instructor Al Santilli many years ago, always asking "what if", and always thinking through potential consequences the way a chess player looks many moves ahead. My goal as an instructor is to pass that gift along.
 

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
Yes WaspAir, of course I meant intrinsically safer. But there are still accidents. And there will probably be an irreducible number for anything that has a motor or moves, flying machine or not. But there are far more accidents in gyros than there should be, and we all want to fix that.

And no, I was not comparing gyros (or any light aircraft) to Commercial Aviation, which has a completely different risk profile. I meant within GA or even the subset "private flying". Sorry if that was not implied.

Yes, I am extremely cautious in my flying, and adopt a look-ahead attitude, long before I even sit in the machine.

I think the current modern generation gyro fatal stats are comparable with other forms of "private flying" in developed countries..

And once you filter out some of the obvious crazies who feature in the death toll, and some of the more lax-regime countries where accidents occur, gyros may even be safer.

And they could be safer still. They quite possibly could and should be as safe as the early Cierva machines, which were 50 years ahead of the rest of GA.
 
Last edited:

Greg Vos

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
176
Location
Cape Town
Aircraft
R44/22 H269/300 MD 500 Magni (all); Xenon RST; DTA; ELA; MTO
Total Flight Time
2480 odd (1300 gyro hours & counting)
I have been privileged to fly airplanes, Helicopters & Gyroplanes .... IMO a gyro is this most simple and easiest to fly...does this fact not add to the disturbing reality that guys get into these most misunderstood flying machines and overnight become top gun?

Would you get into a R44 with 50 hours and fly it like you stole it? ..would you get into a C 152 Aerobat and fly it like you stole it at 40 hours? ..... I wouldn’t but yet with gyroplanes we have some of the best stunt pilots at low hours...

What saves these dicks from self distraction is the discipline and culture instructors bring to the table at AB initio ..no fancy programs or wonderful drawings or internet connectivity and sharing experiences.. just those few hours we have to mould and educate and mentor the new encumbrant.

I am not the most experienced instructor on this forum or anywhere for that fact, but I demonstrate a zero top gun attitude a zero tolerance for a lethargic approach to safety in the hanger or in the air, it works for me ..

For me the thing with this developing gyroplane world is we have a duty to instill safety, we need to take a pilot once he has achieved his basic private pilots license to think ... what if ... and we need to let this young (in hours) pilot learn as much as we can in the short time we have this person under our guidance, we need to discipline ourselves not to demonstrate advanced type flying until we are comfortable that this person understands the danger.

its easy to impress a person who has zero flight experience....it’s way more difficult to impress a well disciplined flight instructor
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
296
Location
London
I think the current modern generation gyro fatal stats are comparable with other forms of "private flying" in developed countries..
Per hours flying - no.

Some data from the UK AAIB the last time they looked (2003):-

Safety record of gyroplanes

The safety record for gyroplanes is very poor compared to other types of aircraft. Since 1989 there have been 15 fatal gyroplane accidents in the UK. In that period there were only between 200 and 265 gyroplanes on the UK register. Based on CAA estimates of hours flown, this places the fatal accident rate for gyroplanes at 27.1 per 100,000 flight hours. This compares to just 2 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours for microlight aircraft and only 1.1 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours for light fixed wing general aviation aircraft. The fact that the fatal gyroplane accident rate is more than 13 times greater than that for similar weight microlight aircraft raises serious questions over the design of gyroplanes and the training of gyroplane pilots.

In the 17 years since that was last looked at we have had 7 fatalities in the UK, 2 with "factory built" machines. With the low number of aircraft flying I doubt if very much more than 100k hours of flying has taken place by the entire fleet in that time and so if microlight aircraft have had a consistent level of accidents we are somewhere between 3x higher or at parity depending how you want to slice the cake.

This is quite a good view that doesn't look specifically at gyroplane but never-the-less it is interesting.

 

Illini85

Active Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
234
Location
Hopkinsville, KY
The following I copied from the Helicycle website found under the questions section. It is an article written by BJ Schramm. I think the comments about pilot proficiency applies to all and new pilots would do well to heed his advice. Given that most gyros sold today are 2 seaters the question is how hard is it for a person to wait until they have 200 hours before taking passengers?


WHY SHOULD (MUST) YOUR FIRST HELICOPTER BE A SINGLE PLACE?

Having been around since the very beginning of the sport helicopter movement, I have had the opportunity to evaluate numerous successes and failures with this equipment.

During the 23 years I managed Rotorway, we sold between 2,500 & 2,800 ships and trained about 1200 pilots at our "Sky Center." I was fortunate to be personally involved with scores of these customers. Every instructor knows that the real thrill in doing something well is in sharing it with someone else and this has been my Personal pleasure as well.

I could easily write a book filled with examples of the experiences of past customers, but we don't have space within this answer. I'll confine my comments to some very basic observations, and then conclude with 3 solid reasons why your first helicopter must be a single place machine.

1. An individual who purchases a kit helicopter and fails to have the kind of experience that he visualized, will be lost to this market forever. You're 99.9% certain to have one shot at success in this area. Get all the facts that you can up front.

2. Very few potential purchasers have the correct vision of what the kit helicopter is or isn't and what it's capabilities are. They view all helicopters alike, with little thought given to the huge differences between a certified Jet Ranger and their choice of a kit helicopter. They mistakenly expect equal capability and performance to be the helicopter norm.

3. The majority of kit helicopter customers have no previous helicopter instruction. In their mind, they visualize themselves and their wife, or a buddy out flying over the countryside and having a ball. They do not understand helicopter complexity or cost and a two place machine is their only logical thought.

4. Good looks are and have always been the number one reason for kit helicopter purchase. Unfortunately, good looks have almost nothing to do with performance, reliability or longevity. I spent the first 10 years of my helicopter design and flight test career learning how to build a good looking, flight worthy machine. I then spent the next 25 learning how to make the helicopter last.

There are three major important reasons why your first Helicopter should be a single place.

I. It will take 200 or more hours logged to become a truly proficient helicopter pilot. During the first 50-100 hours the new student becomes more and more familiar with the machine. Instead of wondering whether he's in control of the machine, or whether the machine is in control of him, he begins to feel like he has finally become the master of this beast.

After 50-75 hours this tremendous feeling of mastery turns into a hint of cockiness. The student starts trying maneuvers that are further and further out, sooner or later the machine bites back. Usually, most early flight errors are minor, unfortunately it can be otherwise. In any case, this period is no time for the student to be carrying passengers.

After 150-200 hours the student begins to come of age, he's learning his limitations and the limitations of his machine. He's becoming a much more experienced and safer pilot. We should point out that commercial operators require 1000-1500 hours of experience for new hires. It takes a lot of hours to prove that you're insurable.

II. You may not have realized it before, but all helicopters have a cost to gross weight ratio. The ratio is greater in the commercial field, but in the kit market it's still over 2 to 1. The HELICYCLE© is the best example since it's the lowest priced quality single place. The top two, 2-place kit helicopters are both 2.3 times it's price.

The point is, why pay twice as much to gain the experience you need when you're statistically 70% certain to be moving on to a new hobby or venture in the next 3 or 4 years. If you're one of the 30% still involved, sell your HELICYCLE and buy a 2 seater. Past kit helicopters have had a poor resale value, just check the classifieds. The HELICYCLES© longevity is several times that of previous kits and should have a much better resale value than past equipment.

III. The overriding reason for your first helicopter being a single place is safety, both your safety and the safety of your passenger. I shudder to remember the times I watched legal but inexperienced pilots take off with a friend in one of my past designs, I don't plan to relive those scenarios this time around. Consider these facts:

A. The 2nd person is a 100% load increase not counting fuel and the helicopter feels like it's stuck in cement, pilot reactions must be quick as lightening in an emergency.

B. Fully loaded aircraft require much higher power settings. In a helicopter, loss of power at the higher power settings requires serious pilot finesse to insure a happy outcome. There is no substitute for experience.

C. Highly loaded components need careful monitoring. The pilot must have time to get to know his machine. There's going to be lots of mechanical stuff to learn and this is no time to have the added distraction of a passenger.

We know most newcomers think two-place and as the old saying goes, "the customer is always right." This is true for tennis shoes and TV's, but when it comes to aircraft, critical thinking can save your life.

NOTE: Pilot training and how it is to be acquired will be explained separately.
 

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
Per hours flying - no.

Some data from the UK AAIB the last time they looked (2003):-

Safety record of gyroplanes
Phil, with respect, I think you are conflating the previous generation accident statistics with the modern generation. [2003 data is what you present, which I am aware of]

I have been collating and reviewing my figures, dating back to 2001 since 2016 and while I don't claim they are exact, they also can't be far wrong. There are by necessity some Fermi-like estimates involved.

For the UK Big-3 [actually Big-2 in the UK, since we have no ELAs] the fatal accident rate since 2001 is approximately 1 to 2 per 100,000 hrs, depending on whether we class the 2009 head-chopper as a "fatal gyro accident".

I also note that one of these accidents was a medical event, which I include to retain comparability with other international aircraft accident stats, but one might wonder even whether the 1 to 2 is perhaps an exaggeration of the true "accident" picture in the UK.

Your guesstimate of 100,000 hours isn't a bad one. I'd put it closer to 150,000 in the Big-2 since 2001, but heh, I won't be dogmatic about it.
 

ferranrosello

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
379
Location
Madrid
Aircraft
Ela 07
Total Flight Time
FW: 600, HELOS: 3550, GYROS: 3020
And they could be safer still. They quite possibly could and should be as safe as the early Cierva machines, which were 50 years ahead of the rest of GA.
Hi, TyroGyro. I didn't know about the gyropedia and these, but I will check. I have a question related to your accidents report. For how many years, and how many machines in each country?

I'm a gyro CFI in Spain since 2003. I have flown about 4000 flying hours in Ela and a few in Magni. I have analysed very carefully all gyro accidents in Spain and I have my ideas about them. Since a couple of years ago we have changed very much the way in which we are performing the instruction. Because of our authority (AESA) now the syllabus is much better and the theory and flying tests, much more serious. And above all I'm trying to expand an aeronautical culture and attitude beyond our student pilots.

Obviously, I´m very worried for our accident record. At least in Spain, the main cause of fatal accidents is poor decision making, that is a way to say crazy flying style.

I will never say that the pilots who learnt to fly in my flying school are the safest in the world. Because I have no control of their minds and sometimes pilots forget about the lessons they took. Is a question of aeronautical attitude. We have lost a couple of pilot generations and I don´t know when we are going to significantly improve our accident record.

Some years ago I thank the same you are saying today: that the autogiro is the safest aircraft in the world. However, when someone asks me about the autogiro inherent safety I answer always that the main key to safety in any aircraft is the pilot's mind. So I think that the only thing we can do, aside to teach good flying abilities and theory, is to promote following the rules strictly...

Thank you for your answer

Ferràn
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
296
Location
London
Phil, with respect, I think you are conflating the previous generation accident statistics with the modern generation. [2003 data is what you present, which I am aware of]

For the UK Big-3 [actually Big-2 in the UK, since we have no ELAs] the fatal accident rate since 2001 is approximately 1 to 2 per 100,000 hrs, depending on whether we class the 2009 head-chopper as a "fatal gyro accident".

I also note that one of these accidents was a medical event, which I include to retain comparability with other international aircraft accident stats, but one might wonder even whether the 1 to 2 is perhaps an exaggeration of the true "accident" picture in the UK.

Your guesstimate of 100,000 hours isn't a bad one. I'd put it closer to 150,000 in the Big-2 since 2001, but heh, I won't be dogmatic about it.
Hello - I don't think it was a conflation, I pointed it out in my post by highlighting the point you make vis factory aircraft.

The point I guess is this. We are coming from a very low base and ultimately there are a few factors.

Principle amongst is that we have a great deal of accidents that are non-fatal and they are non-fatal in many ways by luck than judgement. You start rolling a machine with no accident protection (it isn't like a race car with a roll cage for example) at speeds up towards 60-70mph and you are lucky to walk away frankly.

Yet even if that point isn't accepted then with the low number of hours flown even one more accident will skew things hugely so statistically you'd have to wait another 20 years almost to validate current data!

In the end the aircraft are at least more consistent than previous years <2005(?) and via the AAIB insistence there is now a training syllabus in the UK since 98(?) but despite all this we still have accidents that are very very odd.

I think everyone is absolutely understanding that aircraft will crash but in gyroplanes we have this unusual ability to screw the pooch during regular take offs and landings. That is surely something that even if people don't want to address it must at least be accepted that is odd.

Put it another way. We have never in the UK had a CFIT in bad weather - are we going to claim that as exceptional training or just something else?

If you anyone is motivated to build a bigger base / interest in gyroplanes in the UK/USA/anywhere then getting on top of why things are the way they are would be useful. One thing that frustrated me years ago was the focus upon a CPL and night rating than really spending time building a more solid base because you go to any well used airfield and offer someone in the club house a go in your gyroplane and see the reaction. Go to White Waltham for example and see what very experienced pilots think.....
 

TyroGyro

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
124
Location
Liverpool, UK
Aircraft
MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
110
Hi, TyroGyro. I didn't know about the gyropedia and these, but I will check. I have a question related to your accidents report. For how many years, and how many machines in each country?

I'm a gyro CFI in Spain since 2003. I have flown about 4000 flying hours in Ela and a few in Magni. I have analysed very carefully all gyro accidents in Spain and I have my ideas about them. Since a couple of years ago we have changed very much the way in which we are performing the instruction. Because of our authority (AESA) now the syllabus is much better and the theory and flying tests, much more serious. And above all I'm trying to expand an aeronautical culture and attitude beyond our student pilots.

Obviously, I´m very worried for our accident record. At least in Spain, the main cause of fatal accidents is poor decision making, that is a way to say crazy flying style.

I will never say that the pilots who learnt to fly in my flying school are the safest in the world. Because I have no control of their minds and sometimes pilots forget about the lessons they took. Is a question of aeronautical attitude. We have lost a couple of pilot generations and I don´t know when we are going to significantly improve our accident record.

Some years ago I thank the same you are saying today: that the autogiro is the safest aircraft in the world. However, when someone asks me about the autogiro inherent safety I answer always that the main key to safety in any aircraft is the pilot's mind. So I think that the only thing we can do, aside to teach good flying abilities and theory, is to promote following the rules strictly...

Thank you for your answer

Ferràn
Hello Ferràn

Thank you for your thoughtful post and question

I have searched all the AutoGyro, Magni and ELA worldwide fatal accidents back to 2001 (when in fact only Magni - as VPM - was in the air with a few machines) I count 71 fatals in these machines.

For Spain I have 10 accidents in my dataset (the third largest number by country). I do not know how many machines are flying in Spain, of the Big-3 Eurotubs.

3-Oct-07AutoGyro MT 03D-MDDAAustrian1SpainCortil, Cadizhit power lines
19-Jul-08ELA Aviacion ELA-07EC-E021SpainCazalla de la Sierralost lift, air temperature?, hit tree
24-Jul-08ELA Aviacion ELA-07EC-EX52Spainnear Petralow flying,extreme manouevres?
24-Jul-10ELA-07RC-EO71SpainSanta Pola (Alicante)engine failure? 70 yro pilot
23-Sep-10ELA-07 R-115EC-ET41SpainCamarenilla (Toledo)?
26-Nov-11ELA Aviación ELA-07 R-115EC-KUTGIANT Gyrocopter Flightschool2SpainNear Es Cruce Airfield, Vilafranca, Mallorcaside-slip? Extreme maneouvre? FI
26-Jan-13ELA Aviación ELA-07EC-EU91SpainValdemorillowind, high flight, blades disintegrated??
07-Oct-13Magni M16CEC-GE9Private1SpainLas Minas de Hellínhit power lines
8-Aug-18ELA1SpainCamarenilla, Toledo?
19-Feb-19ELA Aviacion ELA-07 R-115 ScorpionEC-GN91SpainCordoba, Iznajar reservoirHit cables, fell in reservoir, FI

To make One thing crystal-clear to all. This is not about chauvinism or nationalism, but Safety.

As it happens, one of the dead was an Austrian national, another a German national, and another a Brit.
They just happened in Spain, so they are filed under "Spain"

The comments on accident cause are just mine, a rookie pilot, based on news-snippets, and attempts by me to translate official Spanish accident reports, when I have discovered them.. We should collectively do so much better.

About 3 years ago I posted here the same info, for worldwide accidents, and tried to engage people in some systematic analysis, struggling often with language difficulties with accident reports.

As I recall, only Vance and perhaps one or two others took an interest and our effort petered-out after about 5 or 6 in-depth discussions of an accident.
We have another 65 yet to complete !

Perhaps, Ferràn, with your excellent English, you could help with the Spanish reports? And your own insights as to why Spain is high on the accident list would be invaluable.

I am glad to hear you believe training and safety have improved in Spain.

And I do agree that so many gyro accidents in all countries have been caused by a poor mental attitude.

"They are so fun, sexy and cute. And addictive. They are so safe. And so simple. What could go wrong?"
 
Last edited:

ferranrosello

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
379
Location
Madrid
Aircraft
Ela 07
Total Flight Time
FW: 600, HELOS: 3550, GYROS: 3020
Thank you for your answer, TyroGyro.
Of course I can help with the accident reports.

In this link is the report for the august 2018 (EC-EZ1). https://www.mitma.gob.es/recursos_mfom/comodin/recursos/ulm_2018_016_a.pdf
The report concludes that is not able to find the accident cause because everything engine, controls... seemed to be working perfectly when the gyrocopter hit the ground. The rotor blades were not bent and the investigator thinks that the blades were nearly stopped before hitting the ground, and the gyro copter had signals of a very heavy nearly vertical contact with the terrain.
However I know that the pilot involved in this accident was performing an extremely low flying... The wind was gusting and I believe he simply hit the ground. We don't know exactly what happened. But we know that it happened because an extremely low flight.

About the 2013 accident (EC-EU9), this is the link form CIAIAC: https://www.mitma.gob.es/recursos_mfom/2013_001a_ulm.pdf
In this case the cause is clear. This was my gyrocopter and it was flown by an experienced airliner pilot who had some experience in gyrocopters. Because of that I performed an investigation by myself and when I saw the final report that CIAIAC had produced I sent my report to them. CIAIAC reopened the investigation and concluded that the cause was a 0 g maneuver to avoid a midair collision with another gyrocopter.
The accident pilot was flying an open formation with another gyrocopter and the accident sequence was recorded by another plane that was flying a couple of miles away. We think that in order to avoid a midair collision between the two gyros the accident pilot induced a 0 g situation which drooped dramatically the Nr. When the the rotor reloaded the two rotor blades were bent upwards a one of them was broken...Rotor, and specially seesaw rotor relay in centrifugal force produced by rotor rpm to be stable. To load the rotor without enough rotor rpm causes from bad flapping situation to the rotor fatal fail in flight...

For the previous accidents there are not official investigations (ulms were not investigated before 2013 in Spain). However I know something about them.
2011 EC-KUT. The cause was unloading the rotor in a very bad recovery from a very hard side slip... I knew this pilot, Andy. He was very involved in doing some spectacular maneuvers and he had a couple of accidents (with no casualties) that he successfully hid for a couple of years.

2010 EC-ET4 It seems that the gyro was perfectly working when it hit the ground. It hit the ground nose up. The accident was witnessed by a CFI gyrocopter pilot. The aircraft got a very deep nose down attitude at 150 feet after take off. Just prior the contact the attitude was reversed to nose up, however the rate of descend was so heavy that the aircraft hit very hard the ground in this position and was destroyed and burned... He was using a portable radio that was badly attached to the power lever. We found this radio on the runway 500 feet beck to the accident site. So we think that the radio was drooped from the cockpit just after take off, and that the pilot tried to recover it from the aircraft ground and was unaware of the extreme nose down attitude he had induced. When he tried to recover was too late...

2008 EC-EO2. This was a pilot trying to take off from a too short terrain strip in a mountain with a passenger. He was not able to overfly the trees in front of him and killed his passenger (the passenger was killed by the fire. The ground impact was not heavy and was survivable, in fact the pilot was uninjured. The fire happened because the broken fuel tank sprayed the engine with petrol...)

About the other accidents I know the same than you...

Ferràn
 

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
2,829
Location
Milan Mich.
Aircraft
Gyrobee, My design
Total Flight Time
350
I think its amusing how gyro flying is so often compared to other GA aircraft and even commercial aircraft. When you look at the accidents you get a hint of why. An airliner takes off and climbs to 30,000 feet or whatever and, how many power lines are there? How much aggressive flying and side slips is he doing? It's pretty much the same for other craft. When the typical Cessna takes off he probably climbs to 3500 feet and drones along to get a hamburger at another nearby airport. Same number of powerlines at 2500 agl and 3500 agl as at 30,000. A gyro flight profile can and sometimes does follow along right about the Cessna's, but certainly not always. A Cessna following what would be a typical flight for me would be hard pressed to do it at all and if we flew the same flights at the same bank angles, altitudes, and proximity to stuff, I'd be willing to bet a gyro would have as good or, more likely, vastly superior safety record. Where we fall down is that, although Gyro pilots often train for engine out, far more than others, we don't train at the altitudes, speeds, and terrain that we need to because that wouldn't be prudent. That training would be better accomplished on a simulator. It has been brought up a number of times but doesn't seem to go anywhere. I know John is working on it now as part of a safety improvement and possible insurance reduction plan but it really doesn't need to be all that sophisticated, it just needs to be set up in an organized fashion with a sim instructor who can induce problems at the most inopportune time, something that can't be done inflight without being too risky. If it results in an insurance reduction then almost any reasonable fee would be able to be charged. If it saved a life or even just 1 serious accident, the cost of a basic sim would be insignificant to the benefit.
 

loftus

Active Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Messages
988
Location
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Aircraft
Aircam
Total Flight Time
500 hours
I think you left out a very important word: potentially safest is probably what you really meant.

The stats are full of actual deaths. Potential safety that goes unrealized is worthless. In practice, every transport category jet since the DeHaviland Comet has done far better than most any popular gyro, as have reliable GA favorites like the Cessna 172 and Bell JetRanger (using almost any measure you might pick, such as deaths per seat mile, deaths per 100,000 hours, airframe losses, etc.).

Compare gyros even to the notorious Boeing 737 Max and they will come out poorly. According to Wikipedia, the Max had a spectacular early record:

After one year of service, 130 MAXs had been delivered to 28 customers, logging over 41,000 flights in 118,000 hours and flying over 6.5 million passengers.

That's a tough standard for a gyro to meet.

Eventually there came two infamous Max accidents, attributed to lack of crew training on new features, with crew inability to handle what amounted to a runaway trim failure, and the whole fleet was grounded to protect the public. The crew made the difference.

But given an adequately trained pilot in each, which would you feel safer in, a 737 Max or a gyro?

The stats might still favor the Boeing.

ATPs in line service generally don't do stupid things intentionally. I wish we could say the same for gyro pilots.

The most important thing I ever gleaned from any of the instructors who trained me was a matter of mental attitude, not skills or procedures. I was lucky enough to have a safety mindset instilled in me by glider instructor Al Santilli many years ago, always asking "what if", and always thinking through potential consequences the way a chess player looks many moves ahead. My goal as an instructor is to pass that gift along.
To kind of add to all this, I think there is a misperception as to the inherent safety of gyros. Probably the only time a gyro is inherently safer than most other aircraft is when it loses an engine, with the ability to autorotate. Depending on the terrain you are over, this could be a blessing or a curse as our glide ratio is inferior to most other aircraft. My general perception of most fatal gyro accidents is that most are not a result of an engine out. So gyros may not be inherently safer overall as we would like to believe.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,684
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
That's an interesting point, especially considering that when Cierva was inventing all this stuff, his goal had nothing to do with engine failures. Rather, he was concerned about the inherent fixed wing susceptibility to stall/spin accidents. Gyroplanes are indeed immune to that problem (as are helicopters and balloons) but unfortunately gyro pilots have found plenty of other ways to kill themselves and their passengers.

Gyros don't have a stall speed. But if you yank and bank at low altitude over unfriendly terrain, stall/spin is not the major problem anyway.
 
Top