The pilot of a logging helicopter that crashed near Fourth of July Pass remains in critical condition at Kootenai Medical Center.
There is no other information available about Jay A. Worman, 41, of Olympia, who may have suffered spinal injuries after the Bell UH-1H helicopter he was piloting went down on the Alder Creek timber sale.
A pilot for Northwest Helicopters of Olympia, Worman was flown to Kootenai Medical Center by medical helicopter early Monday afternoon.
The wreckage was taken to Olympia on Tuesday, said Gregg Nesemeier, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
A representative from Bell Helicopter, Nesemeier and Federal Aviation Administration inspectors are expected to analyze the remains of the helicopter Thursday.
The helicopter and pilot’s services were leased to Wescor Forest Products to ferry logs out of the timber sale on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. It had only been at the site a few days.
The chopper apparently spun out of control after a malfunction in the tail section, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department. It sheared a tree and snapped off the tail section on the way down.
The helicopter then hit the ground and flipped onto its side.
The Bell helicopter was built in 1965 for the U.S. Army for hauling troops and equipment, the transportation safety board said.
It was converted for logging use by Garlick Helicopters of Hamilton, Mont., Nesemeier said.
A number of the same model helicopters have gone from military service to logging, he said.
It is not clear whether the helicopter that crashed Monday was breaking any Federal Aviation Administration rules for loggingtype work. “It’s something we will examine,” Nesemeier said.
Northwest Helicopters has had other mishaps, according to the FAA, but generally has a good record for flying and maintaining their machines.
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