Mon, Mar 15, 2004
Blades Reportedly Came Apart, Striking Pilot In Head
One man was killed, another hospitalized, after the rotor blades
on a gyroplane apparently came apart during a take-off attempt on
Friday, suggesting that a probable lack of proper rotor RPM
and an "unloaded" rotor led to an uncontrolled flapping action
and the subsequent break-up of the rotor system.
There was no immediate indication of the aircraft make or model
involved and media reports were pretty wild to say the least (one
source said the aircraft sported dual rotors...). Authorities in
Jacksonville (FL) say 54-year old Ashley Godeaux was taking off
from Flagler County Airport when the blades came apart on the
10-year old aircraft. One of the blade segments hit him in the
head. The aircraft veered off the runway and came to rest in a
grassy area of the airport.
Godeaux's instructor, 59-year old Bill Ortmayer of Palm Coast
(FL), was rushed to a nearby hospital. Officials at Halifax Medical
Center refused to discuss his condition.
One of the more ignoble quotes repeated by local media notes
that, "The wind can blow them over because they're so light,"
according to Troy Harper of the Flagler County Emergency
Management--who is apparently not a rotorcaft pilot.
The FAA and NTSB will investigate.
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