Sun, Jun 20, 2004
Student and Instructor pilot perish, ShowCopters crew were not
Tyson Rininger of TVR Photography, who provides ANN and our
readers with those fantastic photos of aviation subjects, has
notified us that one of the ShowCopter Robinson R44 aircraft, their
#1 camera ship, crashed enroute from Rhode Island to Connecticut.
The aircraft was scheduled to do video work for Sean D. Tucker, but
it never made it.
The names of the instructor and student have not been released
at press time, but the Associated Press is reporting that the
instructor was a Norwegian national and the student was a resident
of California. The owner of the aircraft and pilot of the camera
ship, Jim Cheatham, arrived at the scene about two hours after the
crash site was discovered.
The R44 crashed about 75 yards from a paved road near Old
Furnace State Park. The site is located just a few miles from the
Rhode Island state line. Thunderstorms and heavy fog were reported
in the area, according to authorities, and according to AP,
Cheatham stated that poor visibility would have required the pilot
to use instrumentation to navigate, which the craft was not suited
The Showcopters are the only civilian helicopter demonstration
team in the U.S.. Based out of Salinas, CA, Jim Cheatham, Bob
Bolton and Chris Gularte fly two Robinson R44's and one R22.
Jim Cheatham, founder of Verticare, has operated out of Salinas
since 1970 and formed the three-ship Showcopter team in 1996.
The aircraft lost was acquired in 1998 and was considered Salinas'
'Eye in the Sky' for local news stations. Their innovative
camera was named the 'Sky Eye' and has covered events such as the
Reno Air Races and AirVenture '99.
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