Pilot Didn't Know What Hit Him in Mid-air Collision

NBC Bay Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two pilots collided mid-air north of Antioch. A small airplane hit a helicopter piloted by a student. Luckily, both pilots took charge and walked away unharmed. NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd reports from Hayward. (Published Monday, Feb 20, 2012)

    “Pilot: Didn’t really think about scary just thought about flying the plane.”

    Ronald Gawer, appeared calm as he explained what happened Sunday night when his small Beechcraft plane and a helicopter collided in mid-air.

    Gawer said, "Didn't really think about it being scary, just thought about flying the plane."

    The plane to helicopter contact happened just south of the Rio Vista Municipal Airport in Solano County.  A 29- year-old experienced commercial pilot was flying solo to earn nighttime flying hours toward her helicopter license.

    She reportedly told her instructor she saw the small plane and soon after that got a warning from an air traffic controller.

    But it was too late.

    The plane and the chopper collided.

    The landing gear on the Robinson 22 she was piloting was struck before it crashed.

    Gawer says he knew something happened. He said he heard a loud bang, but he didn’t know exactly what happened.

    “I don’t know that much about it. I didn’t even know it was a helicopter until I was told later,” Gawer said.

    The helicopter pilot walked away from the aircraft with a few scratches.  Gawer flew his plane with one passenger and landed at Byron Airport.