A man was taken to hospital after an unconventional aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Victoria International Airport Monday afternoon. The crash on the airport’s main runway caused some flights cancellation and delays. 

The aircraft, called an autogyro or gyrocopter, was 15 feet off the ground when it crashed at about 12:30 p.m., causing pieces of the aircraft to scatter across the runway, said Ken Gallant, the airport’s director of operations and safety.

“The pilot was departing when something happened to cause it to come back down to the ground,” he said.

The airport’s emergency response team, Sidney/North Saanich RCMP and North Saanich Fire responded. The pilot, the sole person on board, was taken to Victoria General Hospital with undetermined injuries.

The crash caused a small fuel spill which was contained with foam.

The pilot is from Greater Victoria and keeps the aircraft in a hangar at the airport, Gallant said.

An autogyro has an engine-powered propeller at the back and a free-spinning unpowered rotor on top. Both the windows of the aircraft were shattered and its front wheel collapsed.

The crash closed the airport’s primary runway, which resulted in two cancelled flights and several delays.

The aircraft was moved into a hangar at 2:30 p.m., which allowed the airport to resume normal operations.

The Transportation Safety Board was notified and the airport has passed all relevant information to the board for an investigation, Gallant said.