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Gyrocopter Crashes, Woman Is Angry

November 20, 1985

MARS, Pa. (AP) _ When Richard Parks crashed his homemade gyrocopter into Ursula Nagati’s front yard, he expected to receive a little sympathy. Instead, Mrs. Nagati gave him a piece of her mind.

But he didn’t mind too much. ″I was smiling the whole time because I was happy to be alive to have somebody yelling at me,″ said Parks.

Parks, 32, of McCandless Township said he was flying his Bensen gyrocopter, a one-man helicopter, at about 200 feet over Adams Township Tuesday afternoon when his aircraft began to sputter. More than his heart sank.

″The only thing worse than that sound is when your engine doesn’t make any noise at all,″ Parks said. ″The copter dropped about 50 feet and I thought I might not be in very good shape.″

Parks said he was emerging unhurt from twisted pieces of metal when Mrs. Nagati emerged from her house to berate him for damaging a tree and some shrubs in her front yard.

It was only after several minutes that Mrs. Nagati paused to ask about Parks’ condition, he said. Later, Mrs. Nagati said Parks could replace the plants next spring.

Mrs. Nagati, who has an unlisted telephone number, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Parks said he has been ″tinkering″ with his new gyrocopter since July, when he purchased a pre-fabricated kit for the one-man helicopter. He said he invested more than $3,500 in the aircraft, which was destroyed.

Now he must face state police and Federal Aviation Administration investigators who want to know what happened.

″Those are things I’m going to have to deal with, but they really don’t matter,″ Parks said. ″The way I look at it, I’m worth a million dollars in potential by being able to walk away from that crash.″

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