NTSB: Rule Violation Contributed to Fatal Midair Collision at EAA AirVenture

Investigators concluded that a gyroplane violated event rules by making a prohibited 360-degree turn before colliding with a helicopter.

Flight tracks of the helicopter (red) and gyroplane (yellow). [Courtesy: NTSB]

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its final report on last year’s fatal midair collision at EAA AirVenture, concluding that the crash occurred when a gyroplane violated event rules by making a prohibited 360-degree turn and collided with a helicopter.

According to the NTSB report, both pilots attended a rotorcraft briefing, where event coordinators told gyroplane pilots to stop performing 360-degree turns and spirals while in the traffic pattern for Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Flight track data, witness testimonies, videos, and the damage to the aircraft indicated the gyroplane collided with the left side of the helicopter while performing a 360-degree turn while on the base leg of the visual approach. At the time of the accident on July 29, the helicopter was positioned behind the gyroplane in the traffic pattern and was also on a base leg from the south.

The helicopter impacted the ground and came to rest upside down, igniting a postaccident fire, while the gyroplane collided with a parked, unoccupied airplane. The pilot and passenger of the helicopter both died, while the gyroplane pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The pilot told officials he was unable to recall the accident flight.  

The NTSB report stated there were no mechanical issues with the aircraft, and the pilot was not under the influence of any substances.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia WalshContributor
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

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