• The following is a statement sent by Ian Gregor, communications manager, Federal Aviation Administration Western-Pacific Region, on yesterday’s crash of a helicopter in Kaua‘i:
At about 1 p.m. Hawai‘i time, a Hughes 500 helicopter operated by Smoky Mountain Helicopters Inc. (dba is possibly Inter Island Helicopters) was flying over Ha‘ena on the north shore of Kaua‘i. The pilot reported hearing a loud bang and lost control of the aircraft. The helicopter struck some trees with its main rotor blade.
Of the five people on board, one was killed. However, we have heard conflicting information about injuries to the pilot and the other three passengers.
FAA inspectors are on the scene, and an inspector from the National Transportation Safety Board was en route Sunday afternoon.
This was an air tour flight.
The helicopter’s tail number is N911VC.
The pilot was not talking to air traffic control. Air tour operators typically are not in touch with controllers when they are flying in uncontrolled airspace in good weather.
The pilot of N911VC is 30 years old. He has a commercial rotorcraft (helicopter) certificate and an instrument rating, which means he is licensed to fly in bad weather.