Guidance Helicopter Training Flight Turns Into Rescue

Reprinted with permission from Guidance Helicopters

Crashed Huey helicopter in the Arizona desertIt was another beautiful day in Prescott, Arizona Tuesday, November 15 2011 as Guidance Aviation Helicopter Instructor Pilot Trent Jefferson, CFII, and Guidance Aviation Helicopter Flight Student Tom Armstrong preflighted their Robinson R44 for a flight from the Prescott Municipal Airport to the Grand Canyon (GCN) Airport. But, nothing is ever routine in aviation and Wednesday was no exception as the Guidance Aviation Helicopter Pilots would discover.

Armstrong is a US Navy Veteran and certificated private pilot, helicopters, enrolled in the Yavapai College-Guidance Aviation Professional Helicopter Pilot Degree Program, working on his instrument rating. The flight plan included a cross country flight from the Prescott Municipal airport (PRC) to the GCN. After a full stop at GCN, it was off to Valle Airport (40G).

Upon providing their position report to Valle traffic, Valle personnel at the airport radioed back to the Guidance crew that there was that a helicopter down near their position. Within 15 minutes, the Guidance crew located the the crash site.

Circling the helicopter on the ground, Guidance Instructor Pilot Trent Jefferson reported that the helicopter appeared to be a slightly on its side and could see the pilot in the cockpit, waving his hands. The Guidance crew reported the Lat/Long position to authorities and within 15 minutes Angel Four and the Sheriff’s department were on the seen.

The pilot of the downed helicopter, Jeff Boatman, a seasoned pilot with over 28,000 hours of pilot in command time in helicopters, was leaving the Valle Airport airspace when his Huey experienced catastrophic transmission failure. With a broken pelvis and numerous broken vertebrae, Boatman was able to cut himself free of the wreckage and make a call to 911 on his cell phone.  911 operators then contacted Valle Airport and asked them to radio any aircraft in the area.

photo of helicopter pilotsMost emergency personnel will tell you they only see the front end of an unfortunate incident.  Rarely do the EMS and Search and Rescue professionals get to see the result of their work and have the opportunity to meet the people they have assisted.  On Saturday, August 25, 2012 during the Grand Canyon Valle Airport Thunder Over the Coconino VIII, Trent Jefferson, CFII at Guidance Aviation of Prescott, Arizona met up with Jeff Boatman, professional pilot.

“I couldn’t ask for a better way to start my career,” says Jefferson.  “To not only help someone in need  but then have the privilege to meet them later is inspiring.  I am glad to see Mr. Boatman doing well.”

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