On July 4, 1997, about 1315 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Martin Velocity RG, N280DM, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees while on final approach to the Montauk Airport, Montauk, New York. The certificated private pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Montauk, about 1300. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that he had departed on a local flight and experienced "light turbulence. He then returned to the departure airport and entered a left downwind for runway 24. He lowered the landing gear, and when he turned final he extended the speed brakes. About 50 feet above the ground he began to "round out for the flair," when he encountered a gust of wind from the southeast. The pilot stated that he applied left "stick and rudder," full power, and raised the landing gear. When the pilot began to retract the speed brakes, he observed trees ahead of the airplane.

In a statement provided to a police officer, the pilot/owner said that he had been on final approach to runway 24. He further stated:

"...all of a sudden I lost control of the plane and couldn't regain control. The plane went into a cartwheel like spin and we crashed into the trees on the north side of the runway..."

A certified flight instructor (CFI), waiting to takeoff in another airplane, observed the accident. In a written statement he said:

"...It crossed in front of us at tree top level or a little lower. At one point...over the runway, it started to drift to the right. It looked like it caught a wind gust, because it tilted to the right, clipped a tree branch, rolled over and then it went into the woods..."

The winds reported at an airport 18 miles southwest of Montauk, were from 230 degrees at 15, gusting to 25 knots.

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