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Yuma man dies in gyrocopter crash in desert near Wellton
A Yuma man was killed when the helicopter-like aircraft he was flying crashed in the desert near Wellton Sunday afternoon.
According to Capt. Eben Bratcher of the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, the department received a call about a possible aircraft crash in the desert area south of Interstate 8 near Avenue 37E.
“The crash happened along the edge of the bombing range,” Bratcher said. “Someone saw it go down.”
Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to the call at about 2:27 p.m. and located the crashed aircraft, along with the deceased pilot.
The pilot has been identified as Douglas Goodman, 64, of Yuma.
Bratcher said the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified of the crash and will be responding to the crash site on Monday to review the wreckage.
The crash appears to be accidental in nature and no criminal activity is suspected.
A gyrocopter is a small style of rotary wing aircraft that also goes by the names gyroplane or autogyro.
From a distance, a gyrocopter appears to look like a small helicopter. A gyrocopter flies using an aviation principle known as autorotation. The simplest explanation is that it is pushed by a rear-mounted propeller. Air is rushed through the underside of the blades and forces them to spin and generate lift.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.