Gyroplane Completed One Full 360° Roll As It Descended And Impacted The Runway
Location: Beverly, MA Accident Number: ERA23FA078
Date & Time: December 4, 2022, 11:35 Local Registration: N401GR
Aircraft: Rotorsport UK LTD Cavalon Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On December 4, 2022, about 1135 eastern standard time, a Rotorsport UK LTD Cavalon, N401GR, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Beverly Regional Airport (BVY) Beverly, Massachusetts. The sport pilot was fatally injured. The gyroplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
The sport pilot, who was also the owner of the gyroplane, had acquired his sport certificate about 6 months prior to the accident. At the time of the accident he had accumulated about 120 total hours of flight experience, all of which were in the gyroplane. The pilot had just received his gyroplane back after about 3 months in maintenance and according to witnesses, he had not flown during that period. On the day of the accident, the pilot was planning to take a local flight; after engine start, he taxied from his hanger to runway 34 where BVY air traffic controllers cleared him for takeoff.
Security camera video showed that the main rotor blades of the gyroplane were spinning during taxi. The gyroplane taxied to runway 34 and began the takeoff; no anomalous behavior or irregularity was observed by witnesses or on the video during taxi or the takeoff roll. During initial climb, the security video showed the gyroplane climb to an altitude of about 40 feet above the ground where it leveled off briefly, then resumed a shallow climb while remaining in a significant left yaw. As the gyroplane continued to climb, it began to roll to the right.
The gyroplane completed one full 360° roll as it descended and impacted the runway on its right front side before skidding about 140 ft into the grass off the right side of the runway. The rotor head containing both blades was separated from the mast and was found about 50 ft from the main wreckage. Debris and wreckage were distributed along a wreckage path from the point of impact to the where the fuselage came to rest. The fuselage on the right cockpit side was crushed upwards into the cockpit. The engine remained intact and was operating at nearly full power for about 2 minutes after the accident, until fire rescue personnel were able to shut down the engine. Cursory examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of any pre impact mechanical malfunctions or failures. Two electronic flight displays with recording capability were retained and sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for download. The gyrocopter was retained for further examination.