Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary DFW06LA028

New Braunfels, TX, USA

Aircraft #1


Rehler Gyrocopter


The 700-hour private pilot/builder/owner was approaching Runway 13 when a gust of wind turned the gyrocopter sideways. The gyrocopter subsequently flipped inverted and impacted the runway. Examination of the gyrocopter did not reveal any mechanical deficiencies. The winds at the airport were reported from 150 degrees at 12 knots near the time of the accident.

Factual Information

On November 11, 2005, about 1705 central standard time, an experimental Rehler gyrocopter, N100KR, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while on approach to Runway 13 at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport, near New Braunfels, Texas. The private pilot/builder/owner, sole occupant of the gyroplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local flight originated at the New Braunfels Airport at an undetermined time. Several witnesses observed the gyrocopter as it descended and approached the runway. When the gyrocopter was about 30 feet above the ground, a gust of wind turned the aircraft sideways, and the gyrocopter "flipped inverted and impacted the runway on its main rotor system." Some of the witnesses reported hearing the engine make a power change before ground impact. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-scene examination of the wreckage. The inspector established flight and engine control continuity and found fuel in the fuel tank. No mechanical deficiencies or anomalies were noted. The pilot designed and constructed the gyrocopter. According to his website, he described his gyrocopter as a single-place, experimental aircraft powered by a 100 HP, four-cylinder, four- cycle Rotax engine. The gyrocopter featured a 27-foot-diameter main rotor system, with a three-bladed, 68-inch-diameter propeller installed in the pusher configuration. The gyrocopter was reported to be capable to cruise between 35 and 95 miles per hour. The pilot's last FAA third class medical was issued on June 9, 2004. At that time, the pilot reported a total of 700 flight hours. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA's Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Weather reported at the airport at 1751 was wind from 150 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 6,000 feet, overcast clouds at 7,000 feet, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot's failure to maintain control while landing. A contributing factor was the high winds.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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