2 killed, including Embry-Riddle professor, in Valley helicopter crash

Apr 16, 2019, 8:27 AM | Updated: 8:26 pm
(Van Horn Aviation Photo)...
(Van Horn Aviation Photo)
(Van Horn Aviation Photo)

PHOENIX – Two people, including a Prescott university professor, were killed Tuesday morning when a helicopter crashed about 25 miles outside of Phoenix, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the copter went down in a farm field around 7 a.m. at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, near Fountain Hills.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Fire Department rushed to the scene and found the Bell 206 engulfed in flames. The aircraft had left from Falcon Field Airport in Mesa.

Fire Chief Mark Openshaw said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM that witnesses saw the helicopter then heard a loud bang and watched it spiral to the ground.

Tempe-based Van Horn Aviation identified the pilots as Rucie Moore, a contract experimental test pilot, and Stephen Estes, an engineer who had worked for the company for five years.

“We mourn the loss of our friends during this tragic accident,” VHA president Dean Rosenlof said in a press release.

“Both men contributed greatly to the design and development of our most recent rotor blade designs. Their passing will leave large holes in our company and they will both be missed personally and professionally.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said in a press release that Moore was the chair of the college’s helicopter program.

Moore was a full-time faculty member at the Prescott campus for about a year and a former U.S. Army helicopter test pilot, the release said.

“His many contributions to the education of our students, including his extensive real world experience, was immeasurable,” Dr. Frank Ayers, Chancellor of Embry-Riddle’s Prescott campus, said in the release.

“The entire Embry-Riddle family, our faculty, students and staff, feel his loss and extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.”

No other details were made available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...
Torrence Dunham

Tucson votes to terminate city employees who aren’t vaccinated against COVID by Dec. 1

The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday afternoon to terminate city employees who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.
19 hours ago
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

US Labor Department warns Arizona, 2 other GOP states over COVID rules

The Biden administration threatened Tuesday to revoke the authority for Arizona and two other Republican-controlled states to handle their own workplace safety enforcement because they have refused to adopt rules to protect health care workers from COVID-19.
19 hours ago
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 07: The Weeknd performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at R...

The Weeknd cancels tour with 2 Valley stops, teases stadium tour

Pop sensation The Weeknd on Monday announced the upcoming 2022 tour that had two stops in the Valley has been canceled, teasing a stadium tour that would commence next summer instead.
19 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Verde Valley Fire District)...

Arizona firefighter-paramedic dies of COVID-19 complications

Tyrone Bell, an Arizona firefighter/paramedic, died Monday from COVID-19 complications, the Verde Valley Fire District announced.
19 hours ago
(Facebook Screenshot/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

MCSO Deputy Juan Ruiz remembered for achieving his dream

A Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy who died after being beaten by a suspect was remembered Tuesday as man who lived his dream to protect and serve.
19 hours ago
Gila River Hotels & Casinos held a groundbreaking ceremony for its fourth metro Phoenix venue, Sant...
Kevin Stone

Gila River tribe breaks ground on 4th Valley casino: Santan Mountain

Gila River Hotels & Casinos held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for its fourth metro Phoenix venue and unveiled the project's name: Santan Mountain.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.

More stroke patients eligible for acute treatment, thanks to research

Historically, patients underwent acute stroke treatments according to strict time guidelines. But thanks to recent advancements in stroke research, more patients are becoming candidates for clot-busting drugs and endovascular therapy at specialized centers like Barrow Neurological Institute.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
2 killed, including Embry-Riddle professor, in Valley helicopter crash