Gyroplane Accidents 1985 - 2005


Gyroplane Accidents 1985-2005: Epidemiological Analysis and Pilot Factors in 223 Events

Accession Number:





Gyroplanes (autogyros) are regarded as a relatively safe, stable type of general-aviation aircraft. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) categorizes them as sport pilot/light sport aircraft, and reports of gyroplane accidents are included in a publicly available database. The authors hypothesized that issues related to pilot experience and aircraft maintenance would affect the severity of accidents as indicated by aircraft damage and fatalities. A search of the National Transportation Safety Board database for the period 1985-2005 yielded 223 reports of gyroplane accidents. Information from those reports was compiled and cross-referenced with pilot performance breakdowns and contextual information. The data was then analyzed using the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System. There was a strong effect of pilot experience on crash outcomes; compared to more experienced pilots, crashes involving pilots with less than 40 flight hours in the same make/model gyroplane were 5 times more likely to involve loss of control, twice as likely to destroy the aircraft, and 4 times more likely to involve fatalities. Conversely, crashes involving pilots with 40+ make/model hours were more likely to be related to perception-based performance breakdown. Maintenance issues were not found to play a significant role in this sample of crashes. The results support the hypothesis that pilot experience is a significant predictor of accident fatality in gyroplanes. Training adapted to the experience level of pilots as implemented in new FAA regulations for sport and light sport aircraft (2004) may help to reduce the frequency and seriousness of gyroplane accidents.

TRIS Files:


Media Type:



pp 983-985


Pagan, Brian J

Maastricht University

De Voogt, Alexander J

Maastricht University

Publication Date:



Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine

Volume: 79
Issue Number: 10

Publisher: Aerospace Medical Association
ISSN: 0095-6562


Find a library where document is available

Order URL: //


References (8) ; Tables (1)

Index Terms:

Accident causes; Air pilots; Aircraft accidents; Aviation safety; Epidemiology; Gyroplanes; Perception; Pilot error

Subject Areas:

Aviation; Safety and Human Factors

Last Modified:

Nov 25 2008 7:31AM