The AutoGyro MTO Sport pilot reported that his electronic tablet he was using for navigation failed in flight. He decided to land in a field on a private ranch near Montgomery, Texas, and troubleshoot the electronic tablet. After troubleshooting the tablet, he departed from the field to the northwest.
During the takeoff toward an opening in the trees, he realized there was not adequate obstacle clearance. He turned to the south and the gyroplane hit trees. After hitting the trees, the gyroplane came to rest in a nose-down profile on the left side of the fuselage.
The pilot sustained serious injuries in the crash, while the passenger sustained minor injuries. Both were able to get out of the gyroplane’s wreckage. After the accident, hunters on the property transported the pilot and passenger to a highway where first responders were contacted.
The gyroplane sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, and the empennage.
In the safety recommendation section of the NTSB Accident/Incident Reporting Form 6120.1, the pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented by “measuring the length of the field before taking off.”
The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from trees during departure. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight assessment of the field for takeoff.
This October 2019 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.