CarterCopter Update -- Working Toward Replication
CarterCopter on Thursday released more details about the June 17 accident that destroyed the company's one-of-a-kind gyrocopter. The aircraft was flying at 160 mph when the bolts holding the drive pulley to the propeller drive-shaft broke. The thrust went from maximum to negative, causing the aircraft to slow abruptly, and the wing stalled. The aircraft pitched over and rolled uncontrollably to the left even though the pilot had the stick pushed as hard to the right as possible. Aerodynamic control returned as airspeed increased, but the hard right stick had caused something to fail in the left cyclic boost-control link, limiting rotor control. As AVweb reported last month, the aircraft came down in a field of mesquite trees and was destroyed. The pilots walked away unharmed. If the landing had been in a clear field, the CarterCopter probably would have sustained little damage, the company said last week. The company also said that the Army's visit to Carter scheduled for July 7 to verify calibration and confirm the accuracy of certain sensors for the flight data that would prove the aircraft broke the Mu-1 barrier earlier the same day has been canceled, since many sensors were damaged when the aircraft crashed. The only way to officially prove Carter's claim to breaching the Mu-1 Barrier is to do it again under certifiable conditions. Carter said it plans to do just that with a next-generation prototype. Design work has already begun.