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Thu, Mar 04, 2004

RotorWay Exec Crashes In Ohio; Occupants Survive

NTSB Investigates 'Mechanical Problem' 

It could take several weeks before federal investigators determine what caused a small helicopter to crash into a Medina (OH) neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said investigators from the agency's Cleveland office are looking at everything from mechanical failure to the pilot's actions in sorting out the cause of the crash. "Our investigation is just beginning," she said.

The pilot, Brian C. Geoffrion, 47, of Willowick, and his wife, Linda, 33, were listed in fair condition Monday at Cleveland's MetroHealth Hospital, recovering from injuries in the crash. The couple, through a hospital spokeswoman, declined to comment. Geoffrion was flying his homemade experimental RotorWay Exec helicopter from an airstrip in Portage County to another landing area near Medina County's Litchfield Township when he reported experiencing a mechanical problem over Medina at 1:25 p.m. Sunday. As he attempted to make an emergency landing in a small cul-de-sac near state Route 3, the helicopter, built in 1992, struck two trees and crashed nose first into a front lawn on Glenwell Circle.

No one on the ground was injured, but Medina firefighters had to cut the injured couple from the crumpled wreckage. Another helicopter flown by Portage County resident Bob Showalter had been flying in formation with the Lake County couple's helicopter and landed in the street near the crash site. Both aircraft were removed from the residential neighborhood Sunday night.

From December 1999 to July 2003, the NTS has recorded 16 crashes involving Rotorway aircraft, including one fatality.The last reported crash of a Rotorway kit helicopter in Ohio was in Circleville in July 2000. In that crash, two people were injured, including one seriously, when a pilot tried to take off too close to buildings and struck a utility pole, the NTSB reported.

Here is the preliminary report of Sunday's accident.

** Report created 3/3/2004 **
 Regis#: 198BG Make/Model: EXP Description: EXP- ROTORCRAFT ROTOWAY EXEC
 Date: 02/29/2004 Time: 1825
 Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N
 Damage: Substantial
 City: MEDINA State: OH Country: US


INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 0
 # Crew: 1 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
 # Pass: 0 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
 # Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
WEATHER: CLE 291851Z 23009KT 10SM FEW000 OVC250 14/04 A3024
 Activity: Unknown Phase: Unknown Operation: General Aviation
 Departed: Dep Date: Dep. Time:
 Destination: Flt Plan: NONE Wx Briefing: N
 Last Radio Cont:   Last Clearance:
 FAA FSDO: CLEVELAND, OH (GL25) Entry date: 03/01/2004



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