The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of the Department of Transport has issued its final report into an incident involving a gyroplane in Spanish Point last March.
On March 18th 2022, during take-off from Runway 24 at Spanish Point Airfield (EISP), Co Clare, the tandem seat gyroplane, with one pilot and one passenger on board, encountered a gust of wind from the south-east which caused the gyroplane to depart from the runway centre line.
The Pilot was unable to prevent the gyroplane from veering towards a boundary fence to the right of the runway where the main rotor struck a fence post. The gyroplane eventually came to rest on its left side and facing in the opposite direction to the departure runway.
The passenger, who was uninjured aided the Pilot in exiting the front cockpit as the Pilot had sustained serious injuries to his right arm and shoulder during the accident. The Pilot instructed the passenger to switch off the engine ignition and radios due to the risk of fire posed by leaking fuel.
Both the Pilot and passenger walked back to their vehicle. The passenger drove the Pilot to a local hospital, where he received medical attention. The Pilot’s own assessment as to the cause of the accident was that a ‘severe crosswind gust’ caused the gyroplane’s left main wheel to lift resulting in a runway excursion7 and an impact with a fence post. The Pilot further stated that ‘the event happened too quickly’ for him to react and ‘compensate by tilting the stick into wind’.
The Airfield owner notified the AAIU by telephone and two Inspectors of Air Accidents deployed to the accident site to commence an Investigation.
According to AAIU the report: “The Investigation’s survey and the available weather information would indicate that a crosswind, in combination with engine torque effect, initiated a rolling moment to the right from which the Pilot was unable to recover. Following impact with the fence post the gyroplane rolled over, resulting in serious injury to the Pilot and substantial damage to the gyroplane.
The Investigation notes that both the Pilot and passenger were wearing helmets and did not sustain head injuries. The Investigation further notes that the passenger, who was uninjured, was restrained with a four-point harness. However, the Pilot had a two-point (lap-belt) harness, and it is likely that, as his upper body was not restrained, this may have contributed to the injuries he sustained.
The full report is Final Report 2022-012.
The AAIU has published a Report of a runway excursion during take-off from Spanish Point Airfield, Co Clare, on 18 March 2022, involving an ELA 07S Gyroplane. The gyroplane struck a fencepost and was substantially damaged. The Pilot was seriously injured. https://t.co/cqPsdBwVlh pic.twitter.com/ZZLsZCqU9V
— AAIU IRELAND (@aaiu_ireland) December 30, 2022