Dennis Kenyon Feels "Stupid," But He'll Be OK
by ANN Senior E-Media Producer Paul Plack
The flying ended early on first day of an informal rotorcraft
meet in Utah Friday, when veteran helicopter pilot and airshow
performer Dennis Kenyon crashed in a Schweitzer 269C. Kenyon
suffered minor injuries, but the machine was destroyed.
A small group of experimental rotorcraft enthusiasts was on hand
at West Desert Airpark in Fairfield to enjoy an informal demo by
Kenyon, who has been involved in helicopter sales and training in
Southern England since the early 1970s. Kenton lifted off about
1300 MDT, and demonstrated some precision ground work on the tip of
After climbing to perform some more aggressive flight maneuvers,
Kenton attempted a wingover. As he exited the maneuver and rounded
out the bottom of a swooping descent, he ran out of altitude, and
impacted the ground. The helo came down hard on the skids, struck a
rotorblade and tumbled in the dirt.
As the dust cleared and onlookers ran to assist, Kenyon crawled
from the wreckage, stood up and said, "I feel stupid."
The first paramedic who arrived on the scene asked if he was OK
with being up and around, to which Kenyon responded by offering to
dance for her. Eventually, he was convinced to catch a ride to a
nearby hospital to get a few stitches, but only after agreeing to
be interviewed by two local TV stations and, of course, an FAA
investigator. Kenyon was in good cheer throughout, and told
onlookers he looked forward to returning to the event.
The 1991 Schweitzer 269C, N54LC, is registered to LJ Air, Inc.,
of Las Vegas, NV, a firm specializing in leasing aircraft for
flight training. Kenyon, whose website says he's in the process of
retiring to a consulting role, had arrived from the UK just a day
before the event. The veteran performer said he'd made 1,213
uneventful helicopter demo flights, over a period of 36 years,
before Friday's accident.
The gathering at West Desert Airpark, a private strip, is an
informal fly-in which has drawn experimental rotorcraft enthusiasts
from several states. The airport closed for about three hours to
accommodate an FAA investigation of the accident, but was open
again by 1600 local time Friday... after the Schweitzer made its
last, ignominious taxi to a storage hangar, powered by John
Airport owner Mark Pringle said plans for Saturday would
continue as scheduled.