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*NTSB: Helicopter system did not warn Cessna was nearby

long-jason.jpg
Jason Long (Buy photo)

Related Information

pdf PDF: Read the National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report on the crash

Related Links Crash victim loved to fly

Related Links Crash claims Edinburg pilot



By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

EDINBURG -- An AirCare 5 helicopter's mechanism used to detect surrounding aircraft did not alert the pilot before colliding in the air with an airplane, killing a town man, near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave on Dec. 31, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Jason Long, 32, a flight instructor, died in the crash, as did a 19-year-old man who was in the plane with him. The three passengers in the helicopter, which was returning from the University of Virginia Medical Center, were unhurt.

According to the report filed Monday, AirCare's Skywatch Traffic Collision Avoidance Device system recognized two aircraft in the traffic pattern, but not Long's Cessna 172.

"According to the flight nurse, 'I was in the back under sterile cockpit procedures. Everyone was 'eyes-out' looking for traffic. I felt a bump and a shudder and the pilot said, 'What was that?'' She looked out and saw a white rectangle under the helicopter for 'less than a millisecond,'" the report states.

All three crewmembers stated that the system did not alert them to the airplane.

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