(Witnesses) Saw It Tumble Tail Over Nose, Three Times Before They Lost Sight Of It

Lakeport, CA Accident Number: WPR22FA053
Date & Time: December 2, 2021, 11:15 Local Registration: N425RD
Aircraft: Russell W Dyer Vortex Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 2, 2021, about 1115 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur-built, Vortex gyrocopter, N425RD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Lakeport, California. The pilot was fatally injured. The gyrocopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Two witnesses, located about 2 miles west of the accident site, observed the gyrocopter in level flight, and then saw it tumble tail over nose, three times before they lost sight of it behind a tree line. The gyrocopter came to rest on its left side on flat open terrain covered with brush. Except for a propeller blade tip that had separated and was not located during a search of the area; the wreckage was confined to the accident site.

Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to the tail section. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand with no restrictions using the propeller blades. The main rotor blades were rotated with no binding. The fuel tank was breached; however, the smell of fuel was present at the accident site.

The gyrocopter was recovered for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov