It was a close call for pilot Al Behuncik and his wife on Friday. Their helicopter nearly missed nearby power lines before it crash landed in a corn field off of Hwy 2 and Hwy 11A.
It was not the way the 74-year-old Red Deer County pilot wanted to end his relaxing day of sight-seeing from the air.
“I thought I was going to land in them,” Behuncik said as he pointed up at power lines approximately 10 feet from where his home built, 2009, Rotor Way 162F helicopter landed on its side.
The pilot says the tail rotor failed, which resulted in the helicopter spinning to the left.
“When you are spiraling at 60 miles an hour in the air it is pretty traumatic so the only thing that I could do was put it in auto rotation,” Behuncik explained.
He then banked the helicopter to the left so the wind could catch and push it into the field. Behuncik avoided the power lines but also the highway, which was close by.
“You don’t have time to be scared because you have so many things to do, you have to keep that rotor going, otherwise you’re dead,” Behuncik said.
Other than a sore shoulder, Behuncik and his wife did not suffer significant injuries. He credits his 50 years of flying experience.
“I have flown in Canada, France, England, Germany, Switzerland and everything from a Fixed Wing to a CF 104 Star Fighter,” he said.
The helicopter crash slowed traffic merging northbound onto Hwy 2 off the Hwy 11A on-ramp for a couple hours on Friday. There were no highway closures.