NTSB Identification: IAD05LA085.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 26, 2005 in Highgate, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Martel Air Command 532Elite, registration: None
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot purchased the used gyroplane about 2 weeks prior to the accident. After assembling it, and 2 days before the accident, he conducted a series of touch and go landings, or "crow hops" along a runway. The day before the accident flight was his first flight. During the accident flight, a main rotor blade "folded," and the gyroplane descended nose first into wooded terrain. Examination of the wreckage revealed airframe and rotor blade marks, consistent with retreating rotor blade stall, which could have resulted from either pilot input or "a sharp downdraft." Winds, about the time of the accident, at an airport 25 nautical miles to the south, were 7 knots, with no wind gusts reported. The make and model of gyroplane was known to be unstable, and the pilot was at least aware of a recommended upgrade kit to enhance stability, but had not installed it. The pilot was not rated in gyroplanes, and had spoken to a flight instructor about training, but then decided to self-train. The pilot also did not possess a repairman's certificate for the gyroplane.

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

The pilot's improper cyclic input, which resulted in a retreating rotor blade stall, and its subsequent impact with the propeller. Also causal, was the pilot's failure to acquire proper training. A factor was the pilot's decision not to have a stability upgrade kit installed prior to flying the gyroplane.

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