The aviation and personal injury law firm, David K Wilson & Associates, Attorneys at Law, are representing the family of a man who was killed in the crash of a Robinson R44 Helicopter which occurred on January 30, 2018 near Newport Beach, California.
Killed in the crash was Brian Reichelt, age 56, whose parents are residents of Grayson County, Texas. The R44, with four on board, departed John Wayne-Orange County Airport about 1 minute prior to the accident, destined for Catalina Island, California. According to the NTSB Preliminary Report, multiple witnesses adjacent to the accident site reported observing the helicopter in level flight before it began descending in a nose low attitude toward a residential area. Witnesses reported the helicopter struck the roof of two houses before impacting the ground. The pilot and two passengers, one being Brian Reichelt, were killed. One passenger survived.
The Robinson is designed and manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Company in Torrance, California. Robinson is known for its low cost aircraft but many safety experts are concerned that the company may be sacrificing quality for profit when manufacturing their popular helicopters. Robinson has made more than 12,000 helicopters and the Robison R44 is the world’s best selling civilian helicopter. However, it has a long history of deadly crashes. Robinson R44s were involved in 42 fatal crashes in the U.S. from 2006 to 2016, more than any other civilian helicopter. That translates to 1.6 deadly accidents per 100,000 hours flown, a rate nearly 50% higher than any other of the dozen most common civilian models whose flight hours are tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Brian Reichelt was dedicated to the scouting program where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and Ad Altare Dei before completing his college career and launching his professional career in the world of finance management in the hotel industry. He dedicated his life to his tight knit family, had a spirit of adventure and traveled the world taking many of his family with him. He will be missed.