Thu, Jul 11, 2013
Pilot Reports A Wind Gust Caused The Accident
An instructor pilot and student were injured Monday when the Robinson R-22 helicopter they were aboard went down in American Fork Canyon in Utah.
The helo had departed from Heber City airport (36U) en route to Salt Lake city. The Provo, UT Daily Herald reports that the instructor, identified as Gregory Walther of West Valley City, UT, told local law enforcement officials that he was flying low when a wind gust forced the aircraft toward the ground. The Robby impacted the side of a mountain and rolled to a stop near Tibble Fork Reservoir in the canyon.
The student was Terrance Oakley of Sandy, UT. The flight was operated by Upper Limit Aviation.
The two men got clear of the helicopter and dialed 911. Emergency responders said they were very fortunate to have cell service in the area where the helo went down. The Desert News reports that the area is very steep, rugged, and remote, accessible only by foot or horseback. Lone Peak Fire paramedic Steve Allred said the helicopter was very difficult to spot from the air. He said it was "in a ball," and that it was surprising to him that either man survived the accident. Because of the cell phone service, which was described as "spotty" in the area, the two were located within 45 minutes of the accident.
Both were transported from the accident scene by foot on backboards to a medevac helicopter. Their injuries were considered non-life threatening.
Upper Limit Aviation said that it is conducting an internal investigation, and is working "closely" with the FAA and NTSB.
(Robinson R-22 image from file.)
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