Archive for Thursday, January 11, 2007

De Soto man home after helicopter accident

January 11, 2007

A De Soto man is back in his home after a Jan. 3 helicopter crash, recovering from a broken leg and anxious to get back in the air.

James Dohrman broke a leg when his helicopter went down in a wooded area east of Baldwin City. Relaxing Tuesday evening while receiving a massage on his broken leg from his wife, Mia, who walked away from the crash, Dohrman said the crash didn't dampen his enthusiasm of flying.

"No. It's kind of my job," he said, explaining he was a professional pilot. "I don't like to crash. I really don't count on it happening again."

One thing that upset him about the incident was a highway patrolman's quote that the helicopter "nose dived into a wooded area."

"Nothing like that happened," he said. "It was a normal emergency landing for a helicopter. It's called auto rotation. It just so happened we were over trees."

His leg was broken when it was pinned against a tree as the craft settled in the timber, Dohrman said.

The yellow helicopter, frequently seen over De Soto, was now in his garage, Dohrman said. Once on his feet, he will investigate further what caused the crash. Although he said it was apparent the rear rotor broke.

The Dohrmans keep their helicopter at the Lawrence Airport. Twice a week, they meet up with Don Eikel of Lenexa, who has a similar kit-built helicopter he keeps at the Gardner Airport. The crash occurred after they parted near Gardner following a lunch in Paola.

Dohrman said he bought his helicopter assembled.

Eikel said the helicopters are stronger than most other types of home-built aircraft, such as some fixed-wing, single-engine airplanes.

"It's not a flimsy piece of aircraft," Eikel said. "It's pretty substantial."

-- Ron Knox of the Lawrence Journal-World contributed to this story.

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