Friday, May 20, 2016

AutoGyro Calidus, N50NE, Airgyro Aviation LLC: Accident occurred January 06, 2015 in Grand Junction, Colorado and accident occurred May 20, 2016 in Fruitland, Utah


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA114 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 20, 2016 in Fruitland, UT
Aircraft: MICHAEL BURTON Calidus, registration: N50NE
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 20, 2016, about 1100 mountain daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Michael Burton (AutoGyro GmbH) Calidus, N50NE, collided with mountainous terrain near Fruitland, Utah. The gyrocopter was registered to the builder and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured, and the gyrocopter sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight departed Duchesne Municipal Airport, Duchesne, Utah, about 30 minutes prior, with a planned destination of Spanish Fork Airport-Springville-Woodhouse Field, Spanish Fork, Utah. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that they departed from Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, earlier that morning and stopped at Duchesne for fuel. They then departed west towards Spanish Fork on a route over the Wasatch Mountain Range. As they approached the last ridge, about 200 ft above its peak, they encountered a strong downdraft and the gyrocopter descended 500 ft and into a box canyon. Unable to out climb the terrain, the pilot guided the gyrocopter over a river at the base of the canyon until he could see a landing spot on the shore. As he approached the site and initiated the landing flair, the right wheel struck a bolder and the gyrocopter rolled over, coming to rest in the river.

A witness, who was fishing in the river, called 911 after climbing to a peak where he was able to receive cell phone reception. Due to the remoteness of the site, the pilot and passenger were not recovered until later in the evening.

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A man and woman have been rescued after a Autogyro GMBH Calidus went down in the Uinta National Forest. 

The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office said the crash happened sometime around 11 a.m. 

The office received a call from a fisherman at 11:30 a.m. alerting them of the crash.

Chief Deputy Jared Rigby with WCSO said, "He saw this gyrocopter go down. That it clipped the trees and that it went into the Strawberry River."

The fisherman would rush to the area to help get the pilot and his passenger to safety. 

He told deputies he was able to get the man out from the pilot seat but had a harder time with the woman on the passenger side. 

"He said that they had to move the aircraft around a little bit in order to help get the female passenger out because she was, she was pinned in," said Chief Deputy Rigby. 

The fisherman got the two to the shore of Strawberry River. Then he had to hike out two miles to get to cell service along U.S. 40. Once he did he called for search and rescue. 

"This is a really rugged area from what I’m being told. They are not able to get any vehicles in there," the Chief Deputy added.

Search and Rescue teams called in two medical helicopters to hoist the man and woman out of the area.

"The injuries I’m being told are minor to moderate and so I think that these folks thus far have been very fortunate," said Chief Deputy Rigby.

The two were taken to the Utah Regional Valley Medical Center to be treated for their injuries. 

Search and rescue teams said the woman may be suffering from a possible broken leg and injured back. 

The man suffered from hypothermia. 

"It really sounds like these people are truly fortunate to have that fisherman there and if infact he did see this aircraft go down, to be right there to help them, especially if they were stuck in that aircraft in the water," he added. 

The FAA and NTSB have been notified of the crash. It's still unclear why the gyrocopter went down. 

The Wasatch Health Department was called in because the crash happened on the Strawberry River and fuel could have been leaked into the water.

Story and video:

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah -- A Autogyro GMBH Calidus crash about two miles south of the Soldier Creek dam in Wasatch County has left a pilot and a passenger injured.

Search and Rescue crews were called to the downed aircraft just before noon in the Strawberry River.

Jared Riby with the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office said the man and woman have a few broken bones but no life-threatening injuries.

Deputies said a fisherman in the area heard the Autogyro GMBH Calidus having difficulties and saw it go down.

Officials said he went to check on the victims and then had to hike out to get cell service to call emergency crews.

Riby said the crash site is in a difficult area to reach and the only way crews could get to the victims was by air or on foot.

Rescue crews treated the pair and worked to get them out in a medical helicopter.

Authorities have not said what led to the crash.

The names of those involved have not been released.

Story and video:

WASATCH COUNTY — Two people were injured when a Autogyro GMBH Calidus crashed in Wasatch County Friday.

The two people, who sustained “minor to moderate injuries,” were in the Strawberry River for about five minutes, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of the crash, which occurred in a remote location in the Soldier Creek area, is not yet known.

A fisherman saw the Autogyro GMBH Calidus crash into the water, according to the sheriff's office. He reportedly called emergency services after finding a spot with cell service and helped guide the search crew to the crash site.

The male pilot and female passenger were in the water for about five minutes after crashing into the river around 11:30 a.m., according to the sheriff's office.

"Life Flight sent two medical helicopters, hoisted the two patients out of the area, and are transporting them to Utah Valley (Hospital)," the department reported.

The Wasatch County Search and Rescue team and medical services responded to the crash. The two people were transported to the hospital by a medical helicopter.

Their injuries are not expected to be life threatening, although both people are being treated for hypothermia, according to the sheriff's office. One person had a possible broken leg and injured back, while the other only sustained minor injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety board will be involved in investigating the cause of the crash, according to the sheriff's office.

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NTSB Identification: CEN15CA128 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 06, 2015 in Grand Junction, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/10/2015
Aircraft: BURTON CALIDUS, registration: N50NE
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that during a flight to the destination airport, the gyrocopter was in a slow climb at about 60 knots due to higher terrain that he knew was approaching along the route. As the gyrocopter approached a ridge, the pilot noticed that more altitude was needed, so he turned left of course along the ridge while continuing the climb, expecting to turn right at an area that he saw had lower terrain. The pilot said that things were still going well, but the climb rate had decreased somewhat. As the gyrocopter approached the area of lower terrain, the gyrocopter started to descend quickly with a best rate of climb speed of 52 knots. The gyrocopter descended lower than the surrounding trees and "brushed" the tree tops, tipping the gyrocopter forward and to the right. The pilot saw a small clearing and applied corrective control input to maintain an upright attitude of the gyrocopter and to reach the clearing. Just before entering the clearing, the gyrocopter contacted oak brush with its rotor blades, which sustained substantial damage. The gyrocopter landed in the clearing and slid with minimal forward speed to a stop. The aircraft fuselage had a fractured nose and collapsed nose gear. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The pilot stated that if he had turned right at the approach of the ridge where the terrain was lower, he could have gone around the south end of the ridge. He said he should have expected a down draft on the lee side of the ridge and could also have executed an escape route earlier by turning away from the ridge before the area of down flowing air.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with terrain that was along the planned route of flight.


MESA COUNTY,Colo. Gyroplanes while considered experimental aircraft must still go through heavy regulation and inspection before ever being able to get off the ground, and the pilots that fly them must go through training before they can fly one.

On Tuesday night a Gyroplane carrying 2 passengers crashed leaving both men injured. But many are questioning the safety behind these unique aircrafts that are a mix between a helicopter and an airplane.

The two men in the crash were 53 year old Mike Burton of Pleasant Grove Utah, and 30 year old Josh Humphries from Payson Utah. The men were on their way back to Utah from Montrose when the crash happened.

Records on file with the FAA said the plane was registered to Mike Burton through Air-Gyro Aviation in Utah. Records show Burton built this Calidus 2 seater aircraft himself.

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.

The group was on their way back from a plane demonstration trip to Telluride and Montrose.

They'd started back to Utah, taking off from the Montrose airport around 3:30pm for what was expected to be a 3 hour flight.

The plane ran into trouble about an hour later, but Atwood had to keep flying even after the crash.

"It was pretty difficult but I've been in this business for a long time and I knew Mike and Josh would be okay because, it's Mike," said Atwood.

Gyroplanes are regulated a lot like any fixed wing aircraft, and these planes just like any other have to be licensed and registered.

Dick Knapinski with the Experimental Aircraft Association says that a lot of inspection and training goes into planes like Gyroplanes, before they can ever leave the ground.

"Anything with an air number or an N number that is registered with the FAA is under the same specifications for inspection, recurrent training and so forth, pilot training the same as a fixed wing aircraft," said Knapinski.

The requirements for a kit Gyroplane or one that you build yourself are a little bit more in-depth, once the plane is build it has to go through a federal inspection with the FAA.

"the FAA designated inspector will come and not only inspects the aircraft as it is but they also look at what's called a builders log how the aircraft went together, what timeline was used, what techniques were used," said Knapinski.

These aircraft's are required to go through inspection every year or every 100 hours of flight whichever comes first and pilots of these Gyroplanes must still complete training to fly one similar to that of another pilot.

The FAA and many pilots that fly these aircraft do consider them to be safe.

Story and Video: 

PAYSON — "Crashed." 

That was the text Norky Humphreys received Tuesday afternoon at her home in Payson from her husband, Josh Humphreys.

"You are kidding right?" Norky Humphreys replied.

But he wasn't.

Josh Humphreys was flying back to Utah from Telluride, Colorado, with veteran pilot Mike Burton in their gyroplane — a kind of helicopter, airplane combination — when it crashed in a remote area near Glade Park shortly before 5:30 p.m., according to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Both Humphreys and Burton survived. Rescuers took them to a hospital in Grand Junction where they were treated for back and neck injuries not considered to be life threatening. The two were being picked up by co-workers and driven back to Utah Wednesday.

Burton, of Pleasant Grove, is a pilot with Airgyro Aviation. On Monday, he was in one of two gyroplanes that flew to Telluride to show off the new aircraft to clients. Humphreys was there to film the event for the company.

On their way home, the two aircraft stopped in Montrose, Colorado, to fuel up. Shortly after takeoff again, the Burton and Humphreys gyroplane got caught in a downdraft and didn't have the turbo chargers needed to get over the mountain, according to Troy Atwood, who was in the gyroplane ahead of them.

Rescue teams reached the crash site on snowmobiles shortly after 8:20 p.m.

Humphreys reportedly had to hike a quarter-mile away from the crash site to get cellphone reception while Burton stayed with the aircraft. Humphreys tried calling his wife before texting her.

"He told me, 'I'm OK. We're fine. But we crashed,'" she said.

But reception was lost shortly after. After Humphreys texted that he had crashed, he again lost reception.

"Baby, answer the phone please, I am freaking out," Norky Humphreys texted back.

Finally, Josh Humphreys got reception again and Norky got the word she was waiting for.

"We're fine," the text said.

"I'm feeling fine now, but it was scary," Norky Humphreys said Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

Humphreys said the crash will not deter either man from flying a gyroplane again.

MESA COUNTY, Colo. UPDATE: 53-year-old Mike Burton, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, was piloting the gyroplane that crashed Tuesday night on Glade Park. Burton was transported to an area hospital via CareFlight helicopter.

The passenger of the plane was 30-year-old Josh Humphries, of Payson, Utah. Humphries initially refused medical services, but he was eventually transported via snowmobile to a waiting ambulance, which then took them to the hospital.

Inquiries have been made of the hospital Burton and Humphries were taken to, however they have not released any information regarding their conditions.

As darkness descended upon the Grand Valley, authorities rushed to the scene of a gyroplane crash Tuesday night.

According to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, two Utah men were traveling back to Spanish Fork, Utah when the gyroplane crashed on Glade Park.

The initial call came in around 5:30 p.m. and was made from a person inside the aircraft. Delta County Dispatch was able to determine that there were two men on board the gyrocopter-type aircraft, and the caller was able to provide an approximate GPS location of the crash.

After staging in the area, officials with the Glade Park Fire Department determined they would need help finding the crash victims.

They called in the CareFlight helicopter to perform a search using night vision equipment.

CareFlight was able to locate the crash site – a remote, canyon-laden area approximately 12 miles southeast of the Glade Park Fire Station – however they were unable to land.

Heavy snow on the ground in the area meant a snowmobile rescue effort was required to reach the scene. A ground rescue team used the snowmobiles to reach the crash sight and begin treatment and removal of both victims.

At approximately 10:15 p.m. the ground team found a place for the CareFlight helicopter to land and requested transport of one man to an area hospital.

The second man initially refused medical services, but he was eventually transported via snowmobile to a waiting ambulance, which then took them to the hospital.

Authorities with the Glade Park Fire Department, Grand Junction Fire Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, and Mesa County Search and Rescue all respond to the incident.

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