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N6155S accident description

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Crash location 45.102500°N, 96.884722°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city South Shore, SD
45.105798°N, 96.928682°W
2.2 miles away

Tail number N6155S
Accident date 19 May 2003
Aircraft type Air & Space 18A
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 19, 2003, about 0130 central daylight time, an Air & Space 18A gyroplane, N6155S, owned and piloted by a student pilot, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near South Shore, South Dakota. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Joe Foss Field Airport (FSD), Sioux Falls, South Dakota, about 1230 and was en route to the Sisseton Municipal Airport (8D3), Sisseton, South Dakota.

The flight originally departed from the Marion Municipal Airport (43K), Marion Kansas. The pilot made a fuel stop, landing the gyroplane at FSD. Prior to his departure from FSD, the local control tower was closed. The gyroplane subsequently departed FSD to continue the flight to 8D3.

While on the ground at FSD, the pilot had the gyroplane's fuel tanks filled. An employee at a fixed base operator reported that the gyroplane arrived at FSD about 2330 on May 18, 2003. The employee stated that the pilot asked if there was a place where he could check the weather. The employee stated that he believed that the weather was of concern to the pilot. He stated that the pilot told him that he had a difficult time finding FSD.

The accident site was located about 39 statute miles from 8D3 on a direct line from FSD to 8D3.


The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) student pilot/medical certificate that was issued on February 28, 2003. The certificate listed the following restrictions:

Must have available glasses for near vision Valid for student pilot purposes only

No records were recovered that indicated the pilot had completed the knowledge or practical tests for further certificates or ratings. No pilot flight records were recovered during the investigation.


The aircraft was an Air and Space model 18A gyroplane, serial number 18-66, manufactured in 1965. The gyroplane seated two occupants including the pilot in a tandem seat configuration. The cabin portion of the craft was fully enclosed. The maximum certificated gross weight was 1,800 pounds.

A Lycoming O-360-A1D engine powered the gyroplane. The carbureted engine was rated for 180 horsepower at 2,700 rpm. A Hartzell constant speed propeller was utilized.


The weather recording station located about 16 statute miles southwest of the accident site recorded the weather at 0137 as: Wind: 350 degrees magnetic at 6 knots Visibility: 5 statute miles Present weather: Light rain and mist Sky conditions: Broken ceiling at 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) Overcast ceiling at 10,000 feet AGL Temperature: 17 degrees Celsius Dew point: 16 degrees Celsius Altimeter setting: 29.88 inches of mercury


The airplane had contacted the FSD control tower prior to the fuel stop. No recorded communications were found for the portion of the flight subsequent to the fuel stop.


An FAA inspector conducted a postaccident examination of the wreckage. The gyroplane impacted near the top of a hill about 1.5 miles east and 0.2 miles north of the town of South Shore, South Dakota. The wreckage was distributed in a linear path in a northwesterly direction. The length of the wreckage field was about 500 feet. All of the major airframe components were located within the debris field. A post-impact fire consumed the main cabin section of the aircraft. The main body and engine of the aircraft were located about 195 feet from the first impact point. Three rotor blade impact impressions were found in the ground along the wreckage path. Control system continuity or structural integrity could not be determined because of the extensive impact and fire damage.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by LCM Pathologists, P.C., in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on May 22, 2003.

A "Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report" by the Federal Aviation Administration listed the following findings:

13 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Muscle Notes: The ethanol found in this case is from postmortem ethanol formation and not the ingestion of ethanol.

FLUOXETINE detected in Brain FLUOXETINE detected in Liver NORFLUOXETINE detected in Brain NORFLUOXETINE detected in Liver

Fluoxetine is a prescription antidepressant also used for obsessive-compulsive disorder and bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder) and often known by the trade name Prozac. Norfluoxetine is a metabolite of fluoxetine.

The student pilot held a Statement of Demonstrated Ability for monocularity (he had functional vision in only one eye) due to a congenital cataract. He did not note the use of fluoxetine or any other antidepressant on his application for airman medical and student pilot certificate, nor did he indicate on that application any diagnoses for which fluoxetine is indicated.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.