Student Pilot in Crash Identified; Helicopter Flights Grounded - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Student Pilot in Crash Identified; Helicopter Flights Grounded

File Photo of a Robinson R-22, the type of helicopter that crashed near Felts Field File Photo of a Robinson R-22, the type of helicopter that crashed near Felts Field

SPOKANE, Wash. - The student pilot killed in Wednesday's helicopter crash has been identified as 29-year-old Peter Hecker. We're awaiting word from the family on funeral services.

Inland Helicopters has grounded flights for now. The company is cooperating with the FAA and Robinson Helicopters. Robinson Helicopters sent a representative here to help with the investigation.

Hecker was taking classes at Inland Helicopters. He had reached the level to fly helicopters solo as a student pilot. He had not obtained a private pilot license.

According to Inland Helicopters, there are written tests and a pilot must take a minimum of 20 hours instruction before being able to fly Solo as a student.  Hecker was flying a two-seat Robinson R22 helicopter at the time of the crash.  Inland had 3 Robinson R22 helicopters before the crash. Authorities said the crash happened in a neighborhood east of Felts Field around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Spokane County Sheriff's said it appears the chopper was returning to the airport when it lost power and the tail rotor came off, sending it crashing into the backyard of a home on the 3700 block of North Center. Witnesses reported the aircraft appeared to have suffered a mechanical problem before it crashed and scattered debris across the backyards of several residences. Although investigators believe they have located most of it, they cautioned nearby residents to report found wreckage to Crime Check rather than handling it.

Kami Kane and her two daughters were on a walk when they saw the helicopter fly over their heads. Kane said she heard a noise then saw the helicopter spin out of control before falling in the yard one door down from her home. She says the chopper came apart in the air before the crash.

"I saw a big chunk go off to the left and another come toward me," said Kane.

The crash makes her nervous knowing helicopters and planes fly overhead everyday. Her concern now is for the family who is missing a loved one.

"Someone's not coming home tonight. Someone's lost someone very important to them. Their life is ending and our lives just go on," said Kane.

 

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