A Nederland woman was traveling from Gold Hill to Nederland Saturday, Sept. 21, afternoon when she heard the thwacking of a helicopter coming up on the east side of the highway. Suddenly it loomed right over her and landed on the Peak to Peak Highway about 20 feet in front of her car. After the hitting the pavement the Magni Gyro-copter immediately bounced about eight feet into the air, spun around wildly and came down in the northbound land where oncoming traffic was barely able to swerve off the road before running into the Gyro-copter which had two men in it.
The pilot was able to steer the aircraft off the highway and park.
Another woman traveling north on the highway said she had just come down a hill and around a large curve to the right when she found herself on a head-on collision course with the aircraft with the men in it. She watched the gyro-copter bounce on the asphalt and spin around, coming right at her. She managed to swerve her car into the southbound lane and the small helicopter swerved to his left. The car passed under the blades of aircraft. The women said they felt something tap on their car, maybe the rotors or skids.
“I had to move quickly back into the lane to avoid oncoming traffic. There were cars behind us who also swerved to avoid hitting the ‘helicopter.’ There was no place to pull off the road and we weren’t hit so I kept on driving. The little chopper seemed to stop safely.” The first woman drove until she could pull over and turn around. By the time she got back to the scene, the experimental gyro-copter was still there, but the men were gone. No reports have been filed about the incident and no further information was available. The gyro-copter was registered to an Illinois address about four years ago. If the person piloting the aircraft is the owner, he has logged many hours of flying the machine.
One thing for sure is that quite a few travelers thanked their lucky stars. Just a few seconds either way and it could have been a multi-vehicle disaster.