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Thread: Micheal Burtion's ACcident - Mountiona Flying = Repost from RWF

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    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Micheal Burtion's ACcident - Mountiona Flying = Repost from RWF

    We left Montrose Colorado after adding fuel to about half full. There was a nice light wind out of the north west. We used runway 31 as the wind was nearly direct. From that point we plotted a direct course to U77 Spanish fork and noted several fuel locations en route, We did not pick the next fuel location at that time. We were doing about 60 kts over the ground in a slow climb for the higher terrain(9000+) that we knew was ahead. All systems were operating well and I thought it would be good to get the other aircraft with the turbo into Spanish Fork with more light so I told them to leave us and proceed home. We watched them fly on course for some time and made our last radio transmission to them as they crossed the ridge near Grand junction Colorado.

    As we approached the ridge I noted that we needed more altitude and turned left of course along the ridge while we climbed. Things were still going well but the climb rate had decreased somewhat. In looking back I should have expected the slight down draft from the wind cuming over the ridge and down on our side.

    We were approaching the area where I knew there was lower terrain just north and west of our flight position. At this point we started to descend, I was at the best rate of climb speed of about 52kts ias, and I could see that we had descended lower than the trees at the edge of the canyon. I asked Josh to say a prayer just prior to brushing the tops of the trees with the main wheels. When we hit the trees the gyro tipped forward and right. I saw a small clearing and did everything I could to keep us upright and get into the treeless area. There was a stand of oak brush that we hit just prior to reaching the ground and the small clear area. The rotor blades cut the trees and were wrecked. the cabin hit the ground with minimal forward speed but there was a short near vertical drop. We slid forward only a few yards and came to a stop upright.

    Josh opened the undamaged canopy and came around to help get me out. I believe he anticipated a possible fire. After assessing my injuries and getting me out of the aircraft I gave him my Mobile phone and removed the GPS from the aircraft, We tried the radios but I could not select any frequencies and I believed that the antenna was not working.

    I sent Josh with the phones and GPS up to the top of the ridge.

    I was unable to do much more than take short breaths. I pulled the rear seat cushion out and knelt on it for a moment to get my breath. I then decided I was going to be of no help and needed the warmth and shelter of the aircraft so I got back in.

    Josh came back with news that he had reached S&R and had give GPS location of the crash. He wrapped his coat around me and marched around to keep warm occasionally checking to see if I could still talk.

    THe helicopter missed us on the first pass but Josh was able to get a cell call out from the crash site directing them to us.

    Josh got banged up but had no serious cuts or injuries. I sustained some minor cuts and a burst fracture of a thoracic vertebrae. I will recover without surgery. It will be a few months of recovery.
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    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Micheal Burton is doing well!

    Micheal Burton and I My brother Micheal Burton called me back as I ask when he was up to it...
    Don't know that I shared what Micheal Burton and I discovered about our life path and job's, our skills, exact same MANY interests, hobbies, etc.
    Micheal has had about the same knowledge, Job's, interests, and hobbies that I have. I mean it is scary to both of us we are almost clones in our skills sets and we have many more with a large range of different subjects more than most people I've ever met in my lifetime as we both like to learn. We are both early FIRST adapters of new technologies and have learn and mastered them as soon as we heard of them.

    We really do feel like cones and soul brothers!
    -----

    It was so good to hear his positive attitude voice again.

    I did not ask about the accident he posted about that. So I cannot add any new information. Other than to share that there was only one 80 foot clearing to land on that mountain. Everywhere else was trees or large boulders = death! Somehow it was just there for him as if planned! He did say that if he had been my height like his passenger he would have had only bruises too. But the Canopie hit his head and the floor pressed on his feet and sort of bent his back in half breaking it.

    I only wanted to know was he really going to be alright and how long before he could get back in the air. As I know that would kill me!

    He is healing much faster than expected.
    The first evaluation from the doctors was about 100 days to heal and get the back brace off.
    He cannot really fly with the back-brace because it's hurts and does not wish to do more damage so he has grounded himself.

    Basically he feels fine most of the time.

    He gets muscle spasms from holding himself with is muscles instead of the brace as it hurts if he doesn't so he must lay down to relax his muscles which cramps his productivity and like me he hates doing nothing with this wasted time.

    He should be 100% with not much residual pain or damage if he lets it heal properly!!!

    Thought you all would like to know!!!
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    I think Michael just made a significant contribution to other pilots but 'fessing up to the fact 'As we approached the ridge I noted that we needed more altitude and turned left of course along the ridge while we climbed. Things were still going well but the climb rate had decreased somewhat. In looking back I should have expected the slight down draft from the wind cuming over the ridge and down on our side.' He is an expert and if this can happen to him then it can happen to others if they don't remind themselves about the 'ridge effect' if they are going to be flying in an mountainous area where they will always be found.

    In fact 'rotors' around lines of trees or buildings have the same effect. I held my breath one time when another very experienced pilot struggled to gain altitude after taking off on a runway that was parallel to a lengthy line of hangers where a significant cross wind passed over them and caused a rotor over the runway. When he landed I told him I was a mite concerned for a bit and he said I wasn't the only one!
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  5. #5
    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Here is some wise advice to get sailplane training!

    Glider CFI (and gyro CFI) suggestions for mountains

    This is a general comment/suggestion (not directed at Michael or his specific circumstances) but inspired by something he said.
    Originally Posted by MichaelBurton View Post
    At this point we started to descend, I was at the best rate of climb speed of about 52kts ias, and I could see that we had descended lower than the trees at the edge of the canyon.
    Having spent a great deal of time flying gliders in the Rockies, with no ability to climb at will, I've developed a practice that is easily adapted for powered aircraft.

    Many power pilots try to handle sinking air by slowing to best climb speed and adding full throttle. At high density altitude with lower power margins and with potentially very powerful down currents, that is often not a very good idea, but there is another way. If you are at best climb and still not going up, turn 45 degrees to course and INCREASE your speed.

    Why turn?
    Most subsiding air is highly localized, and you may get out of it quickly with a simple course adjustment. The last thing you want to do is continue in a band of sinking air along a ridge, when you could move away a little and be out of that flow.

    Why more speed?
    The less time you spend in sinking air the better, especially since there is likely still or rising air very close by. Your performance won't let you overpower it, so dash to get out of it. The loss you suffer from briefly flying above your best climb speed is likely to be much smaller than what you gain by getting out of that sinking air promptly.

    Once your gauges and the seat of your pants tell you that you're back in friendlier air flow, you can adjust your speed and heading again. You know now where the trouble lies, and can devise a plan to cope with it.

    Don't fight the downdrafts -- escape them.
    PRA- Director
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    PRA31 - Vice President of S.D. Rotorcraft Club
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    U.S. Agent for Aviomania Aircraft... the most stable gyroplane on the market today.
    See: Aviomania USA http://www.AviomaniaUSA.com

    OEM Dealer for MGL Avionics - glass cockpit EFIS for Experimental aircraft Ask about DISCOUNTS for PRA MEMBERS

  6. #6
    PRA Vice President Tim O`Connor 38872's Avatar
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    I am also glad to hear he is ok.

    Mountain flying is really special, I got to be left-seat for some mountain flying with a CFI that lives and flys in the Cascades once in a vintage tail dragger.

    It is a special art and even the most experienced find it a challenge at times.

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