On July 29 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin while many enjoyed the fun of EAA AirVenture, a collision occurred on the grounds that killed two people and injured two others.
A helicopter and a gyroplane collided on the grounds, destroying the helicopter and killing the pilot and passenger and seriously injuring the pilot and passenger in the gyroplane. According to the NTSB report, multiple videos and witness accounts noted that the gyroplane was approaching the south of the Ultralight/Homebuilt Rotorcraft runway when it executed a left 360-degree turn. The helicopter was behind the gyroplane, also approaching the runway on the base leg from the south. Roughly 250 feet above ground level, the gyroplane collided with the left side of the helicopter.
Both of the aircraft then descended in a near-vertical attitude toward terrain and debris fell from both aircraft. The helicopter hit the terrain in an inverted position and caught fire. The gyroplane hit an unoccupied parked fixed-wing plane that was between the north/south paved road and runway 36L.
The EAA released a statement about the accidents, identifying the victims in the midair as 69-year-old Mark Peterson ad 72-year-old Thomas Volz.
Examination of the helicopter after the accident revealed that both outboard sections of the main rotor blades were separated and landed in a debris field. The main rotor blade structure showed impact marks and paint transfers. The gyroplane's right horizontal and vertical stabilizers revealed shear cuts and a separated structure that is consistent with contact with the helicopter's main rotor blade. The gyroplane's main rotor mast had separated at the mid-length, showing marks consistent with the helicopter's main rotor blade. The examination of both aircraft post-accident did not reveal any evidence of preimpact malfunctions or failures.
This was not the only crash that occurred that weekend near AirVenture grounds. First responders were called to nearby Lake Winnebago on the same morning after a T-6 Texan crashed. The pilot was 30-year-old co-founder of the Texas Warbird Museum Devyn Reiley, flying with 20-year-old passenger Zach Colliemoreno. Both Reiley and Colliemoreno died in the crash.RELATED STORY:Victims identified after 4 killed in 2 crashes involving aircraft at EAA AirVentureThe FAA and NTSB are investigating both crashes with help from local authorities and the EAA.