Mechanic: I'll Pay For Crashed Heli
Earlier this month, a Robinson R22 helicopter flying a photo flight successfully auto-rotated onto a downtown Honolulu street and, now, the owner of the company that inspected the helicopter says he will pay to have it replaced. In an interview with HawaiiNewsNow.com, Brant Swigart said the pilot was "in no way" at fault for the May 9 event, and the operator "had no culpability in this." He said he did not personally work on the helicopter prior to the accident flight, but he "was responsible for checking it." Swigart said he believes a mixture cable snapped and a backup switch failed. "I didn't physically inspect that assembly," he said, "and if I had I would have caught it." The helicopter wasn't the only vehicle damaged in the accident and Swigart says he's stepping up for another affected party, an Iraq war veteran.
Swigart's reaction to what he seemingly suggests was his own lack of due diligence extends beyond the aircraft. A local NBC affiliate reported that Swigart also intends to replace a car that was damaged by the helicopter as it came to rest. A Mazda owned by a college student was struck by the aircraft and badly damaged. The college student, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, was not in the car at the time. Swigart says he doesn't have the money to replace the car but will either take out a loan or take care of the new car payments on a monthly basis. Swigart's actions on behalf of his company, Hawaii Air Power Labs Inc., have impressed Benjamin Fouts, owner of Mauna Loa Helicopters, which operated the accident aircraft. "He's just trying to take responsibility for what happened and make sure he does the right thing. He's truly one of a kind," Fouts told NBC. The pilot of the helicopter, Julia Link, escaped her forced landing without serious injury and has already flown again.