I was scheduled to meet with a local instructor and get checked out in his plane so I could rent something closer to home. As we were getting the engine started, the instructor reached over and turned off the plane, saying “ looks like we’re not flying.” He had seen somebody running towards the runway. We both jumped out of the plane and made our way to the runway.

Fortunately, the pilot wasn’t hurt. He said something locked up in the controls, but a witness said he stalled on takeoff. I’m not sure when the wind shifted, but by the time we got to the gyroplane there was a tailwind. That’s bad for generating lift on takeoff.

The gyro was an RAF 2000 which the pilot has been flying for 20 years.

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I hope that it’s salvageable. At the bare minimum, it will need new rotor blades and tail surfaces. All three of the prop blades were also shattered, so it will need to have the engine overhauled or replaced.

Since it happened on the runway, the airport was shut down for the rest of the morning. I’ll have to reschedule my flight for next weekend.

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There are a bunch of other sad planes sitting at this airport. If I had the money and time I’d rescue all of them.

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Yes, anything that sits too long in Louisiana will develop a living layer on top of it. This is a Piper Seneca II. In good condition, they’re worth $150k. This one is close to scrap.

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A Cherokee 140, the same as the plane I’ve been training in. That crud on the dashboard is a pile of dead wasps.

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And the saddest of them all, a v-tail Bonanza.

Now I need to go back to browsing Barnstormers, the Craigslist of the aviation world.