Tango 2 - N875FV - Georgia

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
Posted here to keep it separate from the condolence thread - base details now shown via the FAA ASIAS

The FAA ASIAS states "AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES IN A FIELD, CEDARTOWN, GA. "

Shown as N875FV - a very new machine registered in September 2019.

Some local media reporting here

 

NoWingsAttached

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My good friend. Our good friend. Not sure if his name has been released, so that's all I am going to say about this for now. I am in shock, just got the news from another close friend.
 

NoWingsAttached

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Polk County KA4A is the home of Peachstate Rotorcraft Club, and this is one of our members.
 

Vance

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Is this a different event, or was this a media error?
It appears to me to be the same accident with the same aircraft.
I don't know why John Eaves is listed as the deceased pilot.
 

PW_Plack

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Does anyone know what was being tested ?
The registration was just done in September, which normally happens before the build is completed and the airworthiness inspection done. The machine was likely still in its 40-hour phase 1 test period. Literally everything about the aircraft was still in test.

The NTSB determined years ago this is a very dangerous time, statistically, for experimental aircraft. After phase 1 is complete, the safety of experimentals isn't that far off standard category aircraft or LSA in comparable weight classes. I'd guess Alex had just finished assisting a customer in his build.
 

scottessex

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The article said “Test Flight” is that a true statement ? Does anyone know what was being tested ?

He was making small blade adjustments I.E. shims, make adjustment, go fly to see what difference it made, come back, make adjustment, etc. to get the blades smooth, Yes the gyro was in Phase 1. Same as mine.

Lets hold off on speculation.
 

NoWingsAttached

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Indications at this early time are that the error in initial pilot reported is due to someone jumping the gun and connecting the N numbers to the owner, then stating that he was the pilot before knowing all the facts.

It is my understanding that the "first 40" were being flown off by Alex for his customer in and around A4A. I do not know anything about any adjustments being needed or being made, more information may be available later.

The accident is under NTSB investigation and all parties involved are under NDA at this time.

Preliminary examination of the photos indicate that the gyro went in hard and fast. In every case where the pilot is conscious and has control of pitch and yaw when coming in, if there is an engine out and a decent LZ available, such as the cotton field here, then the pilot will glide to within the tops of ground cover, flare to a zero ground speed, stop and drop, so as not to upset the craft upon touch down. No big deal, engine out or not. I've done it at least half a dozen times and all I ever had to do was trailer the gyro home, at worst.

Even in a case of poor piloting the gyro should not be carrying so much ground speed that it would flip completely over the nose as appears to have happened in the photos. The extensive damage to the under body around the nose wheel, the collapsed nose gear, extensive tail boom damage, one rotor blade a fair distance away from the rest of the airframe and remaining rotor, the gyro resting not to one side but rather totally upside down, all indicates a great deal of speed carried into touchdown and a hard wheel barrow landing, not mains first as a conscious pilot with pitch and yaw control would definitely be able to do in any condition where all such control of the aircraft is still available.

In light of the NDA mentioned, it can be said that no evidence of mechanical failure is obvious at this time. An engine out or some other type of power plant failure is highly unlikely since it does not explain the obviously excessive speed carried into this emergency landing.

As a gyro pilot with first-hand experience in making terrible piloting decisions and landing a fuel-starved Air Command CLT tandem with a full body pod at 35 mph GS, hitting a berm, breaking off the nose wheel completely, and still just skidding to a roll-over stop and walking away with only a split lip and a "boxer's break" on my hand, it is my opinion based on the information provided at this point that Alex was not in control of his muscles, perhaps even unconscious, when the gyro came in.

Bear in mind this is no more than educated speculation.

I guess the one good thing here is that there was no fire, making investigation easier to complete.

If any PRC members come to see this first, please check in to our Peachstate club forum http://peachstaterotorcraft.org ASAP and respond to the thread posted there concerning our club's treasury donation for the family. Thank you, very much.

Greg
 

GyrOZprey

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I see a lot of similarities in the wreckage damage & layout ( such as can be determined from the media pics from above) as with Jim's crash landing after he lost conciseness from the massive brain bleed ...that showed up in his autopsy! I would suspect a medical event & loss of consciousness! I certainly hope for Alex's family's peace of mind that something definitive comes out of the autopsy! I'm hoping some gyro knowledgable locals can advise & assist the FAA/NTSB reps analyzing the impact marks & manner of wreckage damage!
So very very sad!
 

loftus

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I think we also have to keep in mind, potential mechanical control loss due to linkage failure, blade issue (he was working on it) build mistake etc. I personally experienced such a failure due to a build oversight, and a bolt held in within ¼" by the bolt head touching the mast is the only thing that saved my life. This accident has similarities to Chris Lord's accident - apparent loss of control by experienced pilot's is always puzzling.
 

j4flyer

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My post on the testing was only to gather the details on a statement presented / contained within the initial report. I’ll leave the “Why” to the experts.
 

Steve_UK

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UPDATE - the NTSB Preliminary report is now published - more insight see below


On November 4, 2019, about 1200 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Tango2 gyroplane, N875FV, was substantially damaged when it impacted a field near Cedartown, Georgia. The sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Polk County Airport (4A4), Cedartown, Georgia, around 1130. The test flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a friend of the pilot, the pilot was performing a test flight in order to mitigate a vibration in the gyroplane. The friend watched the pilot add fuel to the gyroplane, check the oil, and perform part of the preflight inspection before the friend continued working on other things around his hangar. Then, the friend watched the gyroplane takeoff, fly out of sight, and noted no issues with the gyroplane. He knew that the flight test would last about 15 minutes, so after 30 minutes had passed, he alerted authorities and went to look for the pilot. The wreckage was located later that day around 1330.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate with endorsements for gyroplane and weight-shift control land. He did not possess an FAA medical certificate, nor was he required to have one. According to a friend of the pilot, he had about 200-300 hours of flight time in the same make and model as the accident gyroplane.

The two-seat tandem, fixed tricycle gear, composite gyroplane was assembled from a kit and issued an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate in 2019. It was powered by a Yamaha 8GL-01, 130-horsepower engine, equipped with an Aero Prop three-blade, fixed pitch, composite pusher propeller and a two-blade aluminum rotor. Review of the maintenance records revealed that the gyroplane's most recent condition inspection was completed on October 20, 2019. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 0 total hours of operation. The hobbs meter was located in the wreckage and noted 4.8 hours of total time.

The 1335 recorded weather observation at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport (PUJ), Dallas, Georgia, which was about 14 miles to the southeast of the accident location, included wind from 120° at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 13° C, dew point 03° C; and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

The main wreckage was located in a cotton field, at an elevation of 853 ft above mean sea level. The gyroplane impacted the field, and then came to rest inverted about 15 ft beyond the initial impact point. The debris path was oriented on about a 270° magnetic heading. All major components of the gyroplane were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. There was no evidence of post impact fire and an odor of fuel was noted at the accident site.

The forward right section of the fuselage was impact damaged and crushed. The windscreens were impact separated and the pieces were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The rudder remained attached to the fuselage and the right side was impact damaged. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the rudder to the pedals in the cockpit. The cyclic controls remained attached to their respective attach points in the cockpit. The walking beam remained attached along the keel and was bent. Cyclic control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control to the main rotor head. Throttle control continuity was confirmed from the throttle control in the cockpit to the engine.

The main rotor mast was impact damaged and bent aft. The main rotor would rotate 360° when moved by hand and the pitch and roll pivot bolts were secure. The main rotor drive gear where the main rotor brake contacted the gear was examined and minor wear was noted. One of the main rotor blades was impact separated and located about 15 ft from the main wreckage and the cap was impact separated. The separated blade exhibited impact damage, was bent in the aft direction, and rotational scoring was noted. The other rotor blade remained partially attached to the main rotor head. It was bent in the positive direction, exhibited rotational scoring, the cap remained attached, and was partially bent aft. The two shims that were added to each blade to reduce the pitch angle of the main rotor blades were located in the vicinity of the wreckage.

The engine remained attached to the airframe through all engine mounts. All 3 spark plugs were removed, exhibited normal wear, and no anomalies were noted. The throttle body was examined and no anomalies were noted. The cylinders were examined with a lighted boroscope and no anomalies were noted. The valve cover was removed to facilitate examination. The camshafts were examined with no anomalies noted. In addition, the valve timing chain was not seated on the two camshaft gears. A section of the valve cover that covered the camshaft gears was impact separated and located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed when the No. 3 piston was pushed down and the propeller moved. The oil filter was removed from the engine, examined, and no anomalies were noted. Coolant was noted in the radiator. Fuel was noted in the fuel rail. The fuel injectors were removed, examined, and were not obstructed.

All 3 propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. Propeller blade A was fractured but remained attached to the hub. The leading and trailing edge of the blade were split. Leading edge damage was also noted on the blade. Blade B remained attached to the hub and no anomalies were noted. Blade C remained attached to the hub and the leading edge exhibited damage. The propeller would rotate when moved by hand. In addition, the propeller gear clutch would rotate when the propeller was rotated by hand.

The vibration tester unit that was being used by the pilot during the flight was not located. However, the cables and sensors remained attached to the airframe and rotor head. Two of the three connection points remained intact and the third connection point was separated. In addition, the excess cable was located in the aft seat.
 

autotic

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It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I lost my father that day. My hero.....
For those of you who are speculating please know this.... there were no issues with the gyro at all (mechanically)...
My father had a medical emergency in the air which was the primary contributing factor to the crash...
 

Supermotive

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It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I lost my father that day. My hero.....
For those of you who are speculating please know this.... there were no issues with the gyro at all (mechanically)...
My father had a medical emergency in the air which was the primary contributing factor to the crash...
I think Alex was an excellent person. We all liked him. I agree that speculation serves no purpose on this forum. I also believe honesty will go a long way. If Alex was testing for vibrations on that particular craft, should it really be stated that there was nothing wrong with the craft. Let’s all be fair and honest here. Let’s all keep it civil and give honor to Alex and his contributions to the aviation world.
 

Vance

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I think Alex was an excellent person. We all liked him. I agree that speculation serves no purpose on this forum. I also believe honesty will go a long way. If Alex was testing for vibrations on that particular craft, should it really be stated that there was nothing wrong with the craft. Let’s all be fair and honest here. Let’s all keep it civil and give honor to Alex and his contributions to the aviation world.
In my opinion using a vibration tester to help smooth out the rotor is a common step in delivering any rotorcraft.

I feel a vibration test is not an indication anything is wrong with the aircraft.

In my opinion they did a good job in their description of the wreckage eliminating the likelihood that a mechanical failure as a primary cause of the accident.
 
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