This was the student pilot’s fourth solo flight and he was using Popham’s grass Runway 26 in good visibility and with a light wind from 240º. His first two solo flights had been made 15 days previously, following a flight with his instructor.
On the day of the accident, the student completed one solo flight, had a break, and had then begun flying a further series of circuits, watched from the ground by his instructor. The aircraft’s attitude in the third landing was flat and, as the gyroplane slowed, the student moved the control stick fully back. The nose of the gyroplane pitched up and it rolled right until the rotor blades struck the ground before hitting the propeller. The gyroplane turned through 90º and came to rest upright, with the engine stopped, before the student turned off the fuel pumps and the magnetos and climbed out.
After watching the accident, the instructor commented that a normal landing involves touching down on the mainwheels and then moving the control stick back gradually, to initially keep the nosewheel off the ground as the gyroplane slows. On this occasion the student rapidly moved the control stick fully back and he then lost control.
Download glossary of abbreviations:
Glossary of abbreviations
Published 14 September 2017