Several helicopters were broken into and a Bell 429 was stolen and crashed at California’s Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC) early Wednesday morning. It has been reported that an unidentified individual attempted to start three other helicopters before getting the 429 in the air. The aircraft appears to have gone down almost immediately after takeoff. According to authorities, there is no indication that anyone was injured in the crash. The helicopters were owned by Sacramento-based Capitol Helicopters.
“Sometime early this morning several helicopters operated by our company were vandalized by an individual unknown to us, and one aircraft was severely damaged,” Capitol Helicopters said in a statement to KCRA. “All our employees are safe, and we do not believe that anyone was injured in today’s events. This incident is currently under investigation by several state and federal authorities.”
The incident is believed to have occurred between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time. The crashed helicopter sustained significant damage and several other aircraft were reportedly damaged by crash debris. The FBI is leading the investigation with the NSTB and FAA participating. As of Thursday evening, the FBI stated that they have identified a person of interest but no one has been arrested.
Attempted to start 3 other helicopters before getting the most complex one started and in the air?
Dear KCRA News, It was a 429 not a 407. It must have cost several million dollars, not one million dollars. Typical of TV News, shallow, no understanding, inaccurate from the get go. This is why I’ve been going to the experts on YouTube more and more, while ignoring TV news.
As for the thief, he learned all he needed to know (to get himself killed) on YouTube. I guess now all aircraft will need keys of some sort.
Youtube? Nah, any good thief should know you would need MS Flight Simulator as a minimum! I only crashed a couple times myself, but I think I got the hang of it now! What could go wrong?!
The near complete failure of the news media to get much of anything correct is something I experienced while still at the university and reinforced many times since then. I once witnessed a crash landing at Eagle Lake CA airstrip that was later reported by the press as well as the NTSB and FAA as occurring at Susanville A/P. This should be a strong reminder not to believe any details from a press report. About the only thing that you can be sure of is that something happened, and that is about it.
More than average skills were needed to startup these helicopters. Disgruntled former employee on a bender after loading up on alcohol or pot?
Flight Sim, X-Plane, and other games can all lead an idiot to think they can do it.
Surprising these incredibly expensive helicopters were apparently left out on the ramp overnight. Or did the thief attach each to a tug, pull them out of the hangar, and then attempt to start them? Perhaps a comically sized proplock would help?
We need to petition for less expensive decoy helicopters to be placed on the ramp for thieves to kill themselves in more economically.
Have you any idea the real-estate prices in Sacramento? You think helicopters are incredibly expensive, try finding a box to keep them in out there, especially given the weather conditions they are experiencing. I have no doubt the perpetrator was impaired – mentally/physiologically most likely – but morally/ethically for sure.
I’m from California, and will return someday when I retire, hopefully sooner rather than later. I know the real estate prices there well.
One has to wonder how these helicopters were left unsecured? Someone needs to lose the job.
Watch out HOG!
“I guess now all aircraft will need keys of some sort.” If they are a useless as the keys in all Cessna aircraft, a simple screwdriver will defeat them anyway.
in the open, then just put a maintenance banner in the aircraft saying NOT AIRWORTHY. That makes the guy go to the next aircraft if he’s thinking about flying off.