Pilot was not cleared to fly at time of 2018 fatal helicopter crash in Williamsburg


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — The pilot of the helicopter who crashed into Bristol Commons in July, 2018 did not have medical clearance to fly.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board report, as early of April 2018, the FAA denied 85-year-old Henry Schwarz, of Alexandria, a medical certificate because of cognitive impairment.

Schwarz was diagnosed with dementia, tremors, Parkinson’s disease and showed signs of attention deficits serious enough that a doctor recommend to Schwarz that he stop driving far from home, according to the new report.

The helicopter he flew crashed into a home at the Bristol Commons on Settlement Drive, off Ironbound Road, on July 8, 2018. Two people were killed in the crash including Schwarz, and 91-year-old resident Jean Danylko.

The National Transportation Safety Board had said in its preliminary report in 2018, Schwarz took off from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport and flew for about three nautical miles before something went wrong. 

The report said the helicopter’s last recorded position was near the townhome falling at a rate greater than 10,000 feet per minute. A fire that was sparked by the crash destroyed nearly all the helicopter’s instruments and equipment.

The NTSB still has not determined the cause of the crash.

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