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NTSB reports on fatal accidents during EAA AirVenture

A preliminary report from the NTSB shows exactly where a homebuilt helicopter collided with a gyroplane as both attempted to land on the turf runway used by ultralights and helicopters at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin on July 29. Another report includes the ADS-B track of the North American AT–6D Texan that descended “rapidly” into Lake Winnebago hours before.

The complete ADS-B track of the warbird that crashed July 29 in Lake Winnebago. NTSB image.
Zoomed image
The complete ADS-B track of the warbird that crashed July 29 in Lake Winnebago. NTSB image.

Four people died in the two accidents, including Devyn Reiley, 30, the pilot of the vintage warbird that departed Wittman Regional Airport just before 9 a.m. Central time with Zach Collie Moreno, 20, a Commemorative Air Force member and aspiring aviation mechanic, in the second seat.

According to the NTSB report, the AT–6D departed Runway 27, turned north, and then turned east and flew over the lake. The aircraft reached 3,900 feet “before it descended rapidly into the lake” at 9:05 a.m., the report states. “The airplane broke into pieces and came to rest at the bottom of the lake” in water about 20 feet deep, and “will be recovered for further examination.”

Another preliminary report offers details on the midair collision of a Rotorway 162F helicopter and an ELA Eclipse 10 gyroplane at 12:27 p.m. The NTSB’s description of the moments leading up to the accident was drawn from eyewitness accounts, video, and evidence examined by investigators. The preliminary report notes that the helicopter pilot and passenger—who were identified by Experimental Aircraft Association officials the following day as Mark Peterson, 69, of Foley, Alabama, and Thomas Volz, 72, of Amelia, Ohio—were both killed, while the two occupants of the gyroplane (who have not been named by authorities) suffered serious injuries when their falling aircraft struck another aircraft that was parked on the ground and unoccupied.

According to the report, the helicopter was following the gyroplane as both approached the runway from the south on the base leg. The gyroplane executed a left 360-degree turn “and impacted the left side of the helicopter…Both aircraft descended in a near vertical attitude towards the terrain with debris separating from both aircraft,” the report states. “The helicopter impacted the terrain, came to rest inverted, and a postaccident fire ensued.”

The gyroplane came to rest on top of a Mooney M20F (based on photographs contained in the report) that was parked between the north-south paved road and Runway 36L. No one on the ground was hurt.

Investigators found no evidence of preexisting mechanical failure or malfunction of either aircraft.

A diagram included in the NTSB preliminary report on the July 29 collision of a helicopter and a gyroplane attempting to land at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. NTSB image.
Jim Moore
Jim Moore
Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Accident

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