Alberta helicopter pilot was starting own business
Pilot killed when chopper crashed in farmer's field near Drayton Valley
An Alberta pilot killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash had just moved to Drayton Valley with his family to set up a small aviation business in the oilpatch, say the people who knew him.
The man, who was in his 30s, was living with his family in an RV trailer at the municipal airport, CBC News learned.
The weather was terrible last night. But that's what we do. We call it pushing the weather
He was the only person on the aircraft, but officials are not releasing his name pending notification of family members.
Chris Krepski, a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board, said a 911 caller reported the crash of the Bell 206 JetRanger around 6:30 p.m.
Fellow pilots said thick fog made flying conditions treacherous.
"The weather was terrible last night," said Larry Beckett who knew the pilot. "But that's what we do.
"We call it pushing the weather and we understand the risks of what we do. We're not stupid."
Beckett said the crash has left him distraught.
"He was an awfully nice guy," he said. "It could have been me."
People recalled how the pilot offered helicopter flights to children during a drag racing event last month.
The pilot was "awesome" with the kids, George Cook said. "Everyone enjoyed him that weekend."
"He was just starting his business up here," he said. "He was a real nice guy."
Four investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are at the crash site in a farmer's field one kilometre from Drayton Valley, a town about 140 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.
Investigators are gathering information from a number of sources including from air traffic control, weather information, any pilot training records and any aircraft maintenance records, he said.
Drayton Valley RCMP say the chopper originated from the Whitecourt Airport and was scheduled to land at the Drayton Valley Airport.