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
Date: 02/29/2004 Time: 1825
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing:
City: MEDINA State: OH Country: US
ACFT SUSTAINED SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE. OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES ARE UNKNOWN.
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
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