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N97CS accident description

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Tail numberN97CS
Accident dateJanuary 22, 2002
Aircraft typeStiles Choctaw
LocationDanville, KY
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On January 22, 2002, about 1445 eastern standard time, a Chocktaw homebuilt gyrocopter, N97CS, was substantially damage during a forced landing in Danville, Kentucky. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Stuart Powell Field (DVK), Danville, Kentucky. No flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

An off-duty Kentucky State Police trooper stated that he witnessed the accident flight. He was traveling north on a road adjacent to the airport between 1430 and 1445, and saw a small yellow gyrocopter ascend from DVK. The gyrocopter made a left turn, and flew overhead. As it passed overhead, the trooper observed a steady stream of dark gray smoke emanating from the gyrocopter. The gyrocopter then appeared to make a left turn and climb as if it was going back toward the airport. The trooper then lost site of the gyrocopter.

The wreckage was located in a field about 1 mile south of DVK, and examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The inspector observed the wreckage inverted, and canted toward its right side. Due to impact damage, he was unable to confirm flight control continuity. The inspector added that the gyrocopter was equipped with a Subaru EJ22 engine, and two separate fuel tanks. The fuel tanks were ruptured, and a strong odor of fuel was present at the accident site. The rotor blades sustained minor damage, and the propeller was not damaged. The inspector was able to rotate the engine crankshaft approximately 30 degrees, but heard metal binding inside the engine.

The pilot's brother further examined the engine. He stated that the connecting rod bearing had seized in the number one cylinder. The pilot's brother added that he did not know the age of the engine, but that the pilot removed it from an automobile and installed it in the gyrocopter.

The pilot's logbook was not recovered. However, according to his brother, the pilot had a total flight experience of approximately 6,500 hours. Of which, about 500-700 hours were in gyrocopters.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Boyle County Coroner's Office, Danville, Kentucky. Toxicological testing was conducted at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.