- Oct 30, 2003
- Santa Maria, California
- Givens Predator
- Total Flight Time
- 2600+ in rotorcraft
I feel there is value in getting gyroplane flight instruction before transitioning to a gyroplane regardless of experience flying other types of aircraft.Update - the NTSB Preliminary states
The pilot was a former military helicopter pilot and had stopped flying for about 18 years. He
recently returned to flying and decided that a gyroplane was the easiest and most economical
transition. The pilot conducted gyroplane training in the Mt Sport 2017 from a local distributor
(who was also a flight instructor) and then purchased a new gyroplane directly from the
factory. The gyroplane was delivered in September 2023.
Before the pilot took delivery of the gyroplane, he conducted two flights with the flight
instructor/distributor for a total of about 1 hour of dual instruction. The pilot said the gyroplane
flew “beautifully…like a Ferrari.” He took official delivery of the gyroplane and then decided to
fly the gyroplane to his home in Virginia that same day.
The pilot said that before he departed, he performed the abbreviated preflight checklist, which
included checking the flight controls, and found no issues. He then started the gyroplane and
taxied to the active runway, where he performed the before-takeoff checklist. There were no
issues with the flight controls during the taxi or take-off check.
The pilot then departed runway 4. He said he pre-rotated to 200 rpm and the gyroplane began
to roll forward. Once he got “wheel balance”, he increased rpm, and the gyroplane lifted off the
ground. When the gyroplane was about 5 ft above the runway, it made an uncommanded 30°
yaw to the right. He tried to correct with full left pedal, but there was no response. The pilot
said his only option was to reject the takeoff. He reduced power, pushed the nose forward,
then pulled the controls back in an attempt to make a soft landing. The pilot stated that the
main rotor blades flapped, and that he could not recall if the gyroplane then rolled left or right
before it “dropped” vertically about 15-20 ft to the ground. After the gyroplane came to a stop,
the pilot manually turned off the engine.
The pilot did not know why the gyroplane yawed but recalled that the control stick stayed in his
hand, and he felt no feedback in the rudder pedals. He further stated that there were no birds in
the vicinity and the wind was calm.
A postaccident examination of the gyroplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
aviation safety inspector found no preaccident discrepancies or mechanical malfunctions that
would have precluded normal operation of the flight controls."
Ref Accident Number: ERA24LA008
I feel more time spent with a good gyroplane flight instructor would have reduced the chances of this accident happening.
Most MTO Sports 2017 I have flown will yaw left on liftoff and roll left when the retreating blade stalls.
The right yaw the accident pilot describes is a mystery to me.
To abort a takeoff takes very little forward pressure on the cyclic to maintain airspeed after reducing throttle in the MTO Sport Model 2017 I have flown depending on how it was trimmed.
Usually learners are amazed at how little drama there is in a gyroplane aborting a takeoff.
From the POH for MTO Sport Model 2017.
4.8 Take-off Procedure for a MTO Sport from the Pilot’s Operating Handbook
Check relative wind
With right hand, maintain control stick in a forward position
Switch pneumatic mode selector to FLIGHT and return to brake with left hand
Hold wheel brake without having locking pawl engaged
While holding wheel brake adjust 2000 RPM with throttle
Activate and hold pre-rotator Vary forward stick position as to avoid lateral forces during prerotation
Let pneumatic clutch fully engage (stabilization at about 100 rotor RPM). If necessary release pre-rotator button momentarily and press again to maintain engine RPM within green arc, respectively to prevent engine from stalling!
Carefully increase engine power to 220 R-RPM – max. 320 R-RPM In case of a slipping clutch (CLUTCH light), continue with less power
Release pre-rotator button
Gently move control stick fully aft (stick travel ~ 1 sec.). In a strong headwind be prepared to stop movement before nose wheel rises!
Release wheel brake with throttle unchanged
Monitor rotor speed and adequately increase throttle to take-off power
In case if a blinking CLUTCH light, consider to abort take-off run.