Engine power loss preceded April 24 helicopter crash in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2018 at 11:37 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters and neighbors worked to put out a fire after a helicopter crashed on April 24 in a field on Route 279.

GAINES – The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on the cause of an April 24 crash of an experimental helicopter in Gaines.

Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport had taken off about 2 p.m. that day in an Mosquito XE. He was seriously injured when the aircraft crashed and burst into flames in a field across from the Gaines Valley Aviation Airport on Route 279.

The NTSB reported that the helicopter experienced a partial loss of power shortly after takeoff. Mr. Heard began looking for a place to land before the engine experienced a total loss of power. “The helicopter did not have adequate main rotor rpm to autorotate and, as a result, it impacted hard upon landing,” according to a report in Rotar & Wing International.

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Mark Bennett of Waterport had been driving by and saw the helicopter preparing to take off. He pulled over to watch and saw it crash. Bennett climbed through an electric fence ran to Heard, getting him free from the wreckage. Heard’s clothes were on fire. Bennett cut Heard’s shirt off and was able to extinguish the flames.

Heard was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester by COVA Ambulance.

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