MELROSE, Florida. – Two people died after an experimental helicopter crashed and caught fire Saturday morning on private property in Clay County.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said a pilot and a passenger died in the crash in an area of Melrose. The names of the victims have not been released.
The plane they were flying is known as the “gyrocopter”.
News4JAX spoke to aviation expert Ed Booth who said the investigation into the crash could take up to three years.
Booth said the Federal Aviation Administration would immediately investigate the incident. He also believes Saturday’s weather was not a factor in why the accident happened.
“They are known to be very safe, docile. They are always in an auto-rotate state so that if the engine shuts down its setup to make an emergency landing in a small area,” Booth said.
Booth said the gyrocopter is a cousin of the helicopter, but is rarely seen.
The rooter of gyrocopters is not powered by the motor; it is a freewheeling device that generates lift. However, he is very intolerant of chess games,” Booth said. “There are many moving parts in the rooting system, the system that controls the pitch of rooting and the failure of a single bolt can be fatal.”
According to Booth, gyroplanes are inspected annually like most small planes.
The National Transportation Safety Board will determine what caused the fatal crash.
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