Pilot and passenger escape with minor injuries after gyroplane crashes into trees in Yorkshire

A pilot and his passenger escaped with minor injuries after an aircraft collided with a tree and crashed in North Yorkshire, according to investigators.

A gyroplane flying in the Sunderland Air Show in 2017. This was not the aircraft which crashed.
A gyroplane flying in the Sunderland Air Show in 2017. This was not the aircraft which crashed.

Shortly after taking off in a gyroplane from a field in Whitby in April, the two-seat aircraft’s landing gear caught the top of a tree when it was travelling at around 50mph.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the gyroplane “fell to the ground vertically” and “came to rest on its side amongst the trees”.

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The 53-year-old pilot, who had more than 260 hours flying experience, and his passenger walked away with cuts and bruises but the aircraft sustained significant damage.

In a report, the AAIB said the weather conditions “were good” but the gyroplane was “close to the maximum takeoff weight”.

It states: “He (the pilot) was running out of field when, with approximately 50 mph of speed, he had to pull up to clear the trees.

"Once above the trees, the aircraft sank and the landing gear caught the top of a tree bringing the aircraft to a rapid halt.

"It fell to the ground vertically with the rotor slowing the descent as it caught on the foliage. The aircraft came to rest on its side amongst the trees.

"The pilot and passenger received only cuts and bruises and were able to exit the aircraft unaided, but the aircraft sustained significant damage."

It adds: "The pilot did not report any issues with the aircraft prior to contact with the trees but he advised that, with the takeoff at close to the maximum weight and not quite fully into wind, the aircraft had built up speed slowly."

The gyroplane, which resembles a small helicopter, has an unpowered rotor and an engine-driven propeller.