Helicopter pilot explains how she survived her second crash - KPTV - FOX 12

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Helicopter pilot explains how she survived her second crash

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Katie Hyneman Katie Hyneman
The helicopter that Katie was in when she crashed. The helicopter that Katie was in when she crashed.
FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) -

From her private helipad in Forest Grove, chopper pilot Katie Hyneman described the route she flew last Friday morning – the same one she’s done hundreds of times.
 
“I pulled out of here, no problem. I cleared those trees when I took off and I had plenty of power.”
 
Katie was going out to spray a field of Boxwood shrubs for her family’s agriculture company, Oregon Roses. She was only a few hundred yards away when something went wrong.
 
“I flew over the neighbor’s berry field and all of a sudden, I started dropping”, said Katie.  “I started raising my collective, which raises your altitude, and nothing was happening.”
 
Katie says she fell out of the sky, crashing into a row of blackberries, bouncing up and then flipping over. She landed upside down with a gash on her head. When everything stopped, Katie felt blood rushing down her face and she worried the chopper might catch on fire, so she kicked her way out and ran for help. Standing in front of the helicopter wreckage in her hangar, Katie pointed to broken plexiglass where she escaped.
 
Katie walked away with only bruises and a small cut on her head and she has a theory about why. The fog ceiling was very low that day so she could only fly 55 feet above the ground. And when she crashed, she thinks wire trellises supporting the berry bushes absorbed some of the impact.
               
“I did a lot of praying. I literally feel like a guardian angel carried me to the end of the row. It gave me a new found faith.”
 
After 32 years of flying helicopters, this is the second crash Katie has survived.

So looking at the mangled mess of a chopper she walked away from, she says she won’t test fate a third time.
               
“I’ve lived out my second chance with a helicopter, so maybe this is a sign from above that I’m done.”
 
FAA and NTSB investigators are examining the helicopter wreckage to try to find out what caused Katie’s crash.

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