A helicopter burst into flames after a pilot attempted to land on a platform trailer at the Slaton Municipal Airport Tuesday.
David Guetersloh, 59, saved his own life, thanks to his experience as a firefighter smoke pilot. Guetersloh was able to escape the helicopter before it exploded in less than 30 seconds.
His Robinson R-44 was a total loss.
The crash occurred after Guetersloh tried to straighten up his landing, after noticing the pad was crooked. Since helicopters do not have wheels like planes, it is common for them to land on a platform trailer, or something with wheels, to be transported easily around the airport.
Slaton Municipal Airport Manager Mike Delano equates the accident to a automobile fender bender and said air travel overall is a safe means of transportation.
"Fortunately everyone walked away safely, which says something about general aviation, because of the safety, he was able to leave the aircraft that he was able to get away in time there was no damage done to him," said Delano.
Guetersloh was the sole occupant in the helicopter. No other injuries were reported.
The Federal Aviation Administration was on scene Tuesday night. The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the remainder of the incident.
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