News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, June 9, 2012
WRENS, Ga. -- Saturday was the annual Wrens OB Brown Memorial Fly-In. It's an event that attracts different small aircrafts, including gyroplanes.
On Friday, a gyroplane in town for the event crashed, killing the pilot, but despite the accident, the gyroplanes still showed up at Saturday's event.
The mood at the event was somber. A few brought their gyroplanes to the event, but all decided not to fly them.
David Robinson has been working with gyroplanes for six years.
"It's a mix between an airplane and a helicopter," he said. "It's very simple to fly, but you still have to have lessons."
He brought his gyroplane to the fly-in at Wrens Memorial Airport, but, with the others, he decided not to fly it after the accident on Friday.
"We [are] all sad about it and it makes you back off and think about it," he said. "You wonder when it's gonna be your day."
The accident that killed 55-year-old Christopher Bowen shook up everyone at the show.
"It takes a lot of wind out of your sails when you hear something like that, so we give it a week or two to settle down," said Bo Collins, who is a gyroplane instructor.
He was supposed to fly to the show in his gyroplane, but he drove instead.
"The only thing that scares me is I would like to know what caused it," Collins said.
But they say with a gyroplane, the cause can be hard to determine.
"You never know what could've happened and inspecting something like that that crashed, you can't really tell if something broke because if it hits the ground, it's coming all to pieces," Robinson said.
But those who fly the gyros say it comes with its risks and accidents like Bowen's won't keep them from doing what they love.
"You just can't stop doing what you love to do," Collins said.
"You don't stop living because of something [like this]," Robinson said. "If you love something enough, you'll keep doing it. That's just a simple fact."
The event was hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association. It is an annual event at the Wrens airport and there are many like it all over the country.
A lot of the planes that come to the event are homemade. In the fall, the airport hosts another fly-in just for gyroplanes.