At 50 ft above the ground, just after takeoff, the gyrocopter’s engine stopped. With no further useable runway available, the pilot elected to turn slightly to the right into wind and land on a taxiway. On landing, the gyrocopter bounced before rolling onto its left side, causing damage to the rotor, propeller blades and tail. The pilot, wearing a full harness, suffered bruising and minor injuries to his legs.
Prior to the flight, the pilot had purchased some unleaded fuel which he put in a metal jerry can that he had used for a number of years. When refuelling the aircraft, he had concerns about the colour of the fuel, but convinced himself it was good after checking the flammability of a small sample. On reflection, he suspects the fuel was probably contaminated causing the engine to stop and that, during the subsequent landing, he let the airspeed drop below the recommended landing speed.
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Published 9 November 2017