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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 173935
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic RAF2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Registration: G-CBAG
MSN: PFA G/13-129
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Black Notley, near Chelmsford, Essex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Rayne, near Braintree, Essex
Destination airport:Rayne, near Braintree, Essex
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 17 May 2002 when crashed at Black Notley, near Chelmsford, Essex, due to a PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation). Both person on board (pilot and one passenger) were killed. G-CBAG was one of at least three RAF 2000 GTX gyroplanes to have crashed in this manner (G-REBA, G-CBAG and G-CBCJ) AccordIng to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"On the afternoon of the accident the pilot and his colleague had arranged to go for a flight together in G-BYDW. They took off in the middle of the afternoon from the farm strip at Rayne and spent about twenty minutes flying in the local area. The pilot then took his colleague's wife for a short flight, again in G-BYDW. On their return it was agreed that the pilot would fly once more with his colleague, but this time in his colleague's machine, G-CBAG.

The pilot then went on to conduct some solo circuits in G-BYDW, whilst his friend got G-CBAG out of the hangar and completed a pre-flight check and engine warm up.

After landing from his solo flight the pilot put G-BYDW away before getting into the right hand seat of G-CBAG. His unqualified colleague occupied the left-hand seat, which on the RAF 2000 is usually occupied by the pilot flying the aircraft as the blade pre-rotator required during takeoff is only operable from this seat. They then taxied out and took off, flying back over the airfield before heading off in a southerly direction. A witness at the airfield later estimated the departure time as 1600 hrs. Witnesses reported seeing or hearing nothing unusual.

The weather that afternoon was described by witnesses as bright and sunny. Some described the wind as calm, but others estimated that there was a north-easterly wind of between 10-15 knots. One witness commented that whilst it had been generally calm, there had also been some gusts of wind. An aftercast from the Met Office indicated that there was a moderate south-easterly flow covering the area at the time of the accident, with winds up to 1,000 feet being generally easterly at 13 to 20 knots.

Stansted Airport, 12 nautical miles to the west of the accident site, had fine weather and an easterly wind of about 12 knots, and Andrewsfield, located 4 nautical miles to the north-west, also had an easterly wind of about 13 knots. No gusts were recorded in these reports. However, by convention, no gusts below 10 knots are required to be reported. Hence it is possible that, at times, the wind speed could have been gusting to just over 20 knots.

Several witnesses in the local area reported seeing a gyroplane at various times that afternoon. Most of these sightings were at the time when the pilot was flying G-BYDW. However, there were also some witnesses to the accident itself. These all reported seeing G-CBAG suddenly fall vertically to the ground, shedding parts as it fell, with some able to identify one of the rotors separating.

The aircraft seemed to have been flying normally up to this point, although one witness reported seeing the gyroplane lose height both shortly before and then again immediately before it started to fall. Descriptions of the height at which G-CBAG was flying varied, but it was probably between 500 and 1,000 feet.

There were also varying eyewitness descriptions about the engine noise. Whilst all agreed there had been engine noise up to the point where the aircraft had dropped, there were differences in the point at which witnesses heard the noise cut out. Some reported this to be when the gyroplane had started to fall, some reported it cutting out during the fall and others reported that the engine could be heard until the aircraft hit the ground.

On seeing the crash witnesses close by notified the emergency services and made their way to the accident site to offer what assistance they could. The emergency services were quickly at the scene. Both occupants sustained fatal injuries on impact"

The AAIB report confirms that the aircraft was "destroyed"; as a result the registration G-CBAG was cancelled on 16 December 2002 as "destroyed" and the pilot/owners "Addressee Status: Deceased"


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

17-Feb-2015 13:00 Dr. John Smith Added
23-Aug-2015 22:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
21-Jul-2016 13:06 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
21-Jul-2016 13:07 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]

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