Pilot critically injured in Michigan gyrocopter crash.

Vance

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Just saw this on Facebook.

Investigators tell 24 Hour News 8 that 68-year-old Steven Lathrop took off from Jenison’s Riverview Airport around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

About an hour later, his single-seat Benson Gyrocopter crashed near East Sherman and Wunsch roads, just east of Muskegon.

More information: http://woodtv.com/2015/05/01/fire-officials-plane-crash-in-muskegon-county/

Sad news, Vance
 
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Leptronjohn

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Ouch, that's too bad. I hope he will be ok and fly again.
John
 

Steve_UK

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I'm not a pilot but have been lucky enough to fly in Mi-24 Hind, Mi-2, Mi-17, Lynx HAS3, Gliders, GA

GyroRon

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looks like he flew right into the power lines. Prop blades are snapped off, so engine may have been running. Mast sheared off right at the top of the seat.
 

Steve_UK

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I'm not a pilot but have been lucky enough to fly in Mi-24 Hind, Mi-2, Mi-17, Lynx HAS3, Gliders, GA
We may have been here before and before. Height is good.
 

Gyro28866

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In the video, you can see both rotor blades, assuming still attached to the hub bar; and did not appear to be crumpled. I wonder if a rotor blade hit the power pole, or he impacted the power lines close to the pole.
 

Vance

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Steven is expected to be OK!

Steven is expected to be OK!

A little less drama from news channel 3.

“MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A pilot of a gyrocopter was taken to a local hospital after crashing in Muskegon County.
68-year-old Steven Lathrop was flying a Benson gyrocopter over Moorland Township.

Police on the scene say he was flying low, and appeared to hit power lines.
Lathrop was taken to an area hospital to be treated for a broken femur.

He did have to have surgery, but is expected to be okay.”

I am glad Steven is expected to be ok.

To me critically injured means life threatening (Wood TV).

It appears to me that Steven built one of his Gyrocopters 27 years ago so I suspect he is an experienced pilot with a lot of successful gyroplane flights.

I find it easy to get just a little overconfident and careless as my experience builds.

It is my observation that aviation doesn’t treat careless well and tends to adjust overconfidence.

Regards, Vance
 

fara

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Wish Steven a speedy and full recovery.
Fly just a few hundred feet high guys ... it doesn't change the view much and it is waaaayyyy safer.
 

Texasautogyro

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Not applying this to Steven but if you want to fly low and slow buy a powered parachute and get instruction.
Low flying in a gyro below the power curve does not serve the pilot very well. Even low flying in almost any aircraft takes away options. Things happen fast and wires can be 1 hidden or 2 put up where they once were not. Like Fara said just a little higher does not change the view two much.
 

MadMuz

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Not applying this to Steven but if you want to fly low and slow buy a powered parachute and get instruction.
.
I disagree there Tex, I think better to fly gyros if that is what you want to fly, but know your machine and its limitations and make sure you know your own limitations... I sure agree that a bit of altitude is handy (and necessary). Other than hidden long span wires down hillsides and across valeys, generally powerlines are at 'that' height.... so fly well above 'that' height and keep an eye out (not literally)

I'm glad he is ok and he heals up soon :yo:
 

Texasautogyro

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I disagree there Tex, I think better to fly gyros if that is what you want to fly, but know your machine and its limitations and make sure you know your own limitations... I sure agree that a bit of altitude is handy (and necessary). Other than hidden long span wires down hillsides and across valeys, generally powerlines are at 'that' height.... so fly well above 'that' height and keep an eye out (not literally)

I'm glad he is ok and he heals up soon :yo:
Yes I agree. I get calls all the time from people saying "I want to fly gyros so I can fly low and slow". First thing I think is this should not be the perception of gyro flying because it invites pilots into bad situations.
 

NoWingsAttached

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Not sure what the pilot was doing, how his gyro handles or anything, of course, but I noticed when flying an old-school VansCraft 503 for a friend at Bensen Days that the vertical mush out flight characteristics of the gyro when rolling out of a steep turn were pretty shocking, and with no power to recover I made sure he understood that he was NEVER to try to pull off a turn steeper than 20 degrees without at least 150 feet AGL under him at any time.

Steve here is no Newbie, but for any other freshman gyropilot the last thing they will do when descending (unintended) with the gyro flying "flat", no turn angle, is point the nose DOWN, but that is precisely the only maneuver that will recover the gyro losing altitude in this situation. Strange feeling to be in calm winds, flat disk (not turning anymore), and find yourself behind the power curve and descending after executing a turn having entering it at more than 50 mph IAS.

Is that a VW engine? IF so they are not very good power-to-weight ratio, so recovery may not have been an option had he gotten into trouble.

I find it hard to swallow that he pulled down the utility pole! Our family (me too) was into power and telecom construction. That thing must have not been set right in the first place, the butt end of the pole buried into the ground is supposed to be 15% of the length of the pole, so even a little 40-footer (which is what this one appears to be, maybe a 35) should have had 6 feet in the ground. No way you are going to pull that down with a little gyrocopter. There is a stamp on the pole so that the inspector can see how deep the thing is in the ground, but I have known idiot crewman to cut the butt off with a chainsaw so they can get away with setting them too shallow. My dad once found a 60 foot pole with just 2 feet in the ground that fell over in a storm when he was still into utility construction.

Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery to Steve.
 
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C. Beaty

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Wires are often not visible but they don’t float.

They can’t be higher than any potential supporting structure. Where there are utility poles and communication towers, there will be wires.
 

NoWingsAttached

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Wires are often not visible but they don’t float.

They can’t be higher than any potential supporting structure. Where there are utility poles and communication towers, there will be wires.
Someone once wrote, "Always cross wires at the poles, since you will always be able to see those better than the wires."
 

C. Beaty

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Some may remember from Bensen Days ~2000, that Hank Hinchman ran into power lines at Wauchula. It was in an open gyro –not the one pictured in the link- that Hank caught a low voltage distribution line on his belly. Fortunately, such lines are solid copper that easily break, leaving a welt on his midsection.

Lines for higher voltage and longer runs often have a high tensile steel core that won’t as easily break.

http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1308

I was impressed by the enclosure on the gyro pictured in the link. Thin fiberglass double skins with a Nomex honeycomb core, weighing next to nothing.
 
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themonarch

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Michigan gyro down

Michigan gyro down

Accidents take time to determine, and time may tell. May be difficult to say with a gyro. Many folks are not familiar with them. This gyro is N numbered. A viewer of the video from the local news report will see this. The pilot is the registered owner. Video shows what appears to be a McCullough power plant. Caught behind the curve, possibly?
 

themonarch

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Michigan gyro down

Michigan gyro down

I see four wires to spark. Excuse me, this may not be a McCullough. Seems not to matter.
 

hillberg

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Wires are often not visible but they don’t float.

They can’t be higher than any potential supporting structure. Where there are utility poles and communication towers, there will be wires.
I know a set of wires at Paso Robbles over a freeway that has a tower at the top of a mountain and another in the middle of town no towers visible for over a mile. either way. We came too close no towers at all. . .over the fwy north bound at 5oo ft agl in an OH 58. . . pulled collective and missed by 2 feet

my pilot never saw them
 

Boots

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Looks like a VW powered gyro to me . It's absolutely a 4 cycle engine . If we are
Guessing my guess will be it burnt #3 cylinder and lost power and he didn't make it to the field across the street. Hope he has a speedy recovery !
 
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