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'DeBird 2' Is Down, But Karol's OK

Innovative Homebuilt Jump-Gyroplane Hit By Turbulence On Takeoff

One of the more interesting and unusual aircraft profiled by Aero TV at last year's annual Popular Rotorcraft Association convention at Mentone, IN is described as a total loss after a weekend accident in Michigan.

Acclaimed experimental aircraft builder Dick DeGrawbuilt the machine for his wife, Karol, and she dubbed it "DeBird 2." The aircraft was a gyroplane which combined a collective pitch control with a powerful prerotator to allow vertical or "jump" takeoffs, and according to a family friend, it was immediately after such a takeoff from a field near the couple's home, in Napoleon Township in Jackson County, Michigan, that turbulence at tree-top level caused a loss of control.

Karol DeGraw is said to have only a few bumps and bruises, but the Associated Press reports she was taken to a hospital for evaluation after the accident Friday morning.

Karol DeGraw

Dick DeGraw is a legend among experimental rotorcraft enthusiasts. A former motorcycle racer and mechanic, and self-taught machinist and designer, his first aircraft was a scratch-built, deep-intermeshing twin-rotor helicopter which has logged 650 hours and is still flying. "DeBird 2" was built after Karol said she wanted to join him on flights in his original "Gyrhino," another single-place, jump-takeoff gyroplane.

FMI: www.aero-tv.net/index.cfm?videoid=960dfebb-e729-4819-ade0-0221034e4c5a


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