The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the cause of a helicopter crash at the Springfield-Robertson County Airport last week.
On Wednesday, July 24, the Schweizer helicopter, carrying the pilot and one passenger, crashed onto the airport’s runway.
Pilot Tom Jones and his passenger were not injured and walked away from the accident, which Airport Board Chairman Henry “Hawk” Ruth called, “a freak accident.”
“He was coming in to land,” Ruth said. “He got a burst of wind on the back of the helicopter in the tail…the helicopter started to spin because he lost tail rotor authority.”
Ruth said the helicopter did several spins before coming into contact with a mound of grass.
“It wasn’t a high-speed crash,” Ruth said. “It was not dramatic; just an accident. They both got out and were perfectly fine, not even any minor injuries…the crash was caused by the heavy gust of wind. The aircraft just couldn’t handle it.”
Ruth said the FAA was on the scene investigating last week, interviewing Jones and studying the aircraft.
Jones owns the Schweizer helicopter and has had it for a number of years, according to Ruth.
“It was built in 1964,” Ruth said. “Tom used it as a trainer in the army to train helicopter pilots for the Vietnam War. It’s really a simple aircraft.”
Jones has plans of opening a flight school called Highland Rim Flight School, which will soon open under the new management at the airport in Springfield.
“He is planning to renovate our old carousel hangar,” Ruth said. “He’s adding a classroom and restrooms in that hangar to hold these classes. He already has 14 students lined up.”