Pilot in critical condition following helicopter crash at Bloomsburg Fair

The Enstrom F28F sightseeing helicopter that crashed south of the helipad at the Bloomsburg Fair on Saturday night was still there on Sunday afternoon next to the cars it damaged in the crash. Tim Chamberlain, the fair's superintendent of police and parking, said the Federal Aviation Administration informed fair officials the National Transportation Safety Board released the scene and the wreckage could be cleared. 

The helicopter that crashed at the Bloomsburg Fair pitched upward as its pilot approached a landing pad and made two full clockwise spins before smashing into the ground and multiple parked vehicles halfway through a third spin, according to a preliminary accident report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Surveillance video captured the final 19 seconds of the flight, the report states.

Wind conditions were calm when the accident occurred on the fair’s last night about 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, according to the preliminary review released Wednesday. Skies were clear and visibility ranged 10 miles, the report states.

Pilot Kenneth Cordrey of Delmar, Delaware, suffered major injuries when the Engstrom F-28F helicopter crashed. He was admitted in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, and upgraded to fair on Oct. 1, nursing supervisors said at the time. According to a hospital spokesman, Cordrey has since been discharged.

Passengers Jennifer S. Zielewicz, 42, of Trout Run, and Maria V. Portalatin, 33, of Williamsport, suffered minor injuries and were released after treatment.

Cordrey accumulated 8,400 flight hours as of the issuance of his most recent second-class medical certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the report states. He has a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for helicopter and single-engine airplanes, the report states.

The helicopter flights are a sightseeing attraction. The cost to ride is $20. J&J Shop HeliAir LLC owned the three-seat helicopter, according to the report.

Bloomsburg Fair President Paul Reichart previously said the fair board would discuss the future of helicopter flights when board members meet Thursday.

An inspector with the (FAA) examined the helicopter at the accident site and found the aircraft came to rest on its left side. It sustained substantial damage to its fuselage, tail boom, main and tail rotors, the report states.

“The fuel cap remained secured and a faint odor of fuel was present at the accident site. The passenger doors were not installed. The inspector reported that the operator held an FAA Letter of Authorization to conduct commercial air tour operations,” according to the report.

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