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Helicopter broke apart, report says

Wed., June 16, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary findings into the investigation of a helicopter that crashed into a Spokane Valley neighborhood this month, killing a student pilot.

According to the report, Peter Hecker, 29, had just dropped off his instructor at Felts Field on June 2 before going on his fourth solo flight. Hecker had been a student at Inland Helicopter for four months at the time of the crash.

The flight ended when the Robinson R22 Beta helicopter broke apart on an approach to landing, crashing into the backyard of homes at 3705 and 3707 N. Center Road, killing Hecker.

Though a specific cause is not revealed, the tail boom, tail rotor and part of the tail rotor drive shaft separated and were the first pieces to hit the ground, the report states.

A final report will not be released for several months.

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