Gyro Down in Mesa County Colorado

Steve_UK

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I'm not a pilot but have been lucky enough to fly in Mi-24 Hind, Mi-2, Mi-17, Lynx HAS3, Gliders, GA
The Cavalon that was along with them N509PH is shown as having a 914 - built by Josh - owned by Troy
 

Terry_Smith

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Steve - I think that overall gyros are a safe aircraft - safer than most other aircraft to fly - when properly designed, built and flown. From all the incidents that I have read over the years, most accidents occur when one (or more) of the 3 items mentioned above are not properly carried out. Gyros can handle higher winds than can other aircraft, can land in a relatively small area, and at slow to zero air speed (all of which you already know). The less than stellar safety record of gyros is more reflected by issues with the above 3 items more so than gyros being inherently unsafe. Once again, my 2 cents.
 

Fly Army

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I Wish Mike a speedy recovery and hope he has no lingering back problems as a result of this incident. It does make me wish we had the weight allowance to have an energy absorbing seat in gyros like we have in most all military rotary wing aircraft. I'm also curious as to what caused them to go down.
 

Fly Army

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I don't know all the rules yet for gyros, but is there a rating that allows you to fly at night like for powered parachutes (private pilot PPC..weird I know).
Any certificate greater than Light Sport would allow night flight.
 

magknight

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I Wish Mike a speedy recovery and hope he has no lingering back problems as a result of this incident. It does make me wish we had the weight allowance to have an energy absorbing seat in gyros like we have in most all military rotary wing aircraft. I'm also curious as to what caused them to go down.
While it's not quite like the military energy absorbing seats, the Arrow does have a seat mount that is designed to absorb energy in the event of a crash. Not sure if the Calidus is like the MTO, but the seats mount directly to the frame.
 

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Resasi

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There are a number of seat foams on the market now that are specifically designed with impact absorption in mind to protect the pilot from spinal injury. At Riss our group was given a safety talk by one such cushion manufacturer.

Confor and Dynafoam are two such foams and I am sure there re probably more. It would be interesting to know if the ArrowCopter has used such a material in their seats.

http://www.trelleborg.com/en/Applie...lider-Sailplane-and-Light-Aircraft-Seat-Foam/

http://www.afeonline.com/shop/dynafoam-energy-absorbing-seat-foam-25mm-1-inch-thick.html
 

GyroRon

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Do we know what caused the crash? Or was it even a crash at all, maybe hard landing is a better term?

could it be as simple as it ran out of gas?

And was it at night? I see the pictures of the rescue squad, and its nighttime in those pics, but with it getting dark at 5:30.... they could have " crashed" at 3 in the afternoon and by the time rescue workers got there and found them it could easily be dark.

A few more details would shed alot of light on what happened. What we do know is the gyro was powered by a engine known to be reasonably reliable and we know the pilot to be a very good careful and diligent pilot.
 

Texasautogyro

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I believe the accident happened close to 5:30 so close to sunset. Rescue was close to 8:30 pm.

This kind of accident can be speculated all day long.
It is very important to let mike tell what happened when he is ready.


Mountain flying has many challenges. It does not matter if you are in Alaska, the Rockies or Central America.
I discuss several basic steps for those who want to take on the challenge.
1. Always plan your route and fly your plan. Have an alternate that's a exit plan and review it.
2. Always fly 1000 feet above the highest cross over point. You can never out climb terrane.
3.know your weather and winds aloft look.
4. Know your aircraft limitations do a weight and balance. This is alway critical even more at altitude.
5 carry survival gear and flair gun and alway have a fuel reserve.
 

ckurz7000

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Hi Desmon,

I fly a lot in the Alps, and your advice is sound. I would like to add one additional warning:

6. Never fly in mountainous terrain with your gyro close to its performance limits. What might be no problem at all down low can get you into trouble quickly up there. Unless you can climb a steady 500 fpm at your planned highest density altitude, don't go there.

That might mean to leave baggage or a ride along passenger at home. It might mean to wait for better conditions (cooler, higher pressure, lighter winds) or it could also mean that you can't fly the planned route and have to find one better suited.

Mountain flying generally requires bigger safety margins all around.

Greetings, -- Chris.
 

WaspAir

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I'll add another, for which I might be in the minority as an advocate:

7. Have a 406MHz/GPS ELT in your aircraft, that activates on impact even if you are incapacitated.

And yet another, for which I hope I'm in the majority:

8. If you get nervous for any reason at all, get out of there, and USE the exit plan from step 1. Cowards are the mourners at the funerals of the bold, and usually very happy that their places weren't switched.
 

ventana7

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JR,
Certainly nothing wrong with carrying a 406 ELT.

A pretty inexpensive alternative is a SPOT. The new SPOT Gen3 can drop a bread crumb track every 2.5 minutes. If you have someone monitoring it they can immediately see if it stops moving and where it stopped. In the event of a crash that destroys the SPOT the SAR circle would be pretty small as at gyro speeds it would be only a few square miles.

Rob
 

Fly Army

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While it's not quite like the military energy absorbing seats, the Arrow does have a seat mount that is designed to absorb energy in the event of a crash. Not sure if the Calidus is like the MTO, but the seats mount directly to the frame.
Well, I suppose that's better than nothing but what I was thinking of something that actually attenuated the stroke of the downward force with springs or a piston. Scroll down to about page 10 here and you'll see better what I mean.

http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/2004Conf...ardins_Energy_absorption-helicopter_seats.pdf
 

dinoa

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An ELT or other beacon device can be a lifesaver, but a cell phone, provided you are conscious and within cell tower coverage will be the device that gets help fastest. Most people carry them anyway.

Dino
 

ventana7

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Dino,

You are right for "most" places. Here in Colorado cel service is pretty limited in the back country.

I am not sure if I understood the report on Mike's accident correctly but it sounded like he was able to call 911 himself from the accident site. That is pretty lucky as given the late hour that the accident occurred even a minor delay in reporting or pinpointing the location would have meant a pretty cold night outdoors.

Rob
 

ventana7

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In addition to the excellent mountain flying suggestions above I would say my number one cardinal rule for flying in Colorado and the mountain west is planning a route based upon the terrain. Forget straight-line GPS (or VOR) routes.

The Colorado State aeronautical division actually publishes a state sectional showing all the common flight paths using the lowest passes over the Continental Divide, following lower terrain, etc.

The sectional also gives the elevation of all the passes and frequencies for all our remote mountain AWOS wx stations which is usually the only way to safely make a GO-NO Go decision. (Getting the weather at the airport in the valley instead of the mountain top between you and the valley has been the undoing of many pilots).

Following these lower elevation or friendlier terrain routes may add 20% more distance to your trip but for me it is always worth it, even if I am in a FW capable of 18,000'.

Vance has often shared on the forum how much pleasure he gets planning trips. I am the same and this comes from the absolute necessity to plan flights this way in Colorado.

I do this whether I am in an FW with an 18,000' ceiling or my gyro.

Rob
 

Udi

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All of the mountain flying discussion is well and good but irrelevant to this incident/accident. According to the sheriff report they were found "approximately 12 miles southeast of the Glade Park Fire Station" which is not even close to mountains. It is located approximately 15-20 miles south of Grand Junction, CO. Not an ideal place to have emergency landing, especially in the winter, but not mountains.

I wish Mike quick recovery, and I also hope the gyro can be repaired.

By the way, this location is not too far from where we lost another gyro friend last summer.

Udi
 
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neutrax

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Sorry to here this. I know Mike and have some air time with him, great guy. Hope they have a full and speedy recovery.
 

SportCopter

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Energy absorbing seats!!!

Energy absorbing seats!!!

Just an FYI....I saw the posts regarding the military energy absorbing seats. I wanted to let you know here at Sport Copter, we already install technology like these seats in all of our gyroplanes. We have been using this technology since the late 1980's. Our Vortex Cyber seats use "Comfor" foam cushioning and crumple zones. The SportCopter II is an Ergonomic Cyber Seat with ejection seat impact cushioning. The "Comfor" foam provides high impact cushioning without any rebound, which helps protect the pilot and passengers spines. Sport Copter seats encapsulates the pilot and passenger with full support all the way to the top of their helmets.

Another benefit to Sport Copter's cyber seat on the single place machines is the fact that the seat and fuel cell are separate from each other. This is part of our roll over protection technology.

We have also worked for military contractors on other projects with sled testing for pilot seats!
 

ventana7

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Udi,

One of the news reports had the following quote:

"Troy Atwood is a Gyroplane pilot who said he is close friends with Mike Burton the pilot involved in the gyroplane crash Tuesday night.

Atwood was in another gyro-plane last night, flying ahead them, when the crash happened.

“The aircraft was performing properly, the motor wasn't putting out enough energy and he started to climb over that mountain and the mountain came up faster than he could climb and it was like a box canyon so there was nowhere for him to turn around," said Atwood.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sounds to me like mountain flying was an issue.

There is a 9,700' plateau just 3 miles south of the rhumb line from Montrose to Spanish Fork. This is about 8 miles from Glade Park. And a bit farther south is another 9,700' ridge you have to cross between Montrose and Moab (CNY) which was their refueling point on the way south.

Hopefully Mike is already on the mend and will feel well enough to check in here soon.

Rob
 
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