Small helicopter crashes in Sheridan

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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A gyrocopter crashed on busy Highway 65 north of Riosa Road in Sheridan Friday afternoon, narrowly missing motorists. No one was injured. The gyrocopter, which witnesses described as resembling a home-built, experimental helicopter, lay on the side of the road when police arrived. The pilot, who Placer County Sheriff’s Officers identified as John Revenboer of Colorado, said he was not injured, and declined to comment further. “Apparently, the pilot’s reporting an engine failure,” said Lt. John Savage of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The exact time of the crash was unclear Friday afternoon, and representatives from CalFire did not immediately return calls at press time. No vehicles were damaged other than the helicopter, which tipped over making a hard turn to avoid hitting a car, according to Savage. “I saw this helicopter getting lower and lower,” said LaDonna Munar of Yuba City. “I saw him come down and hit the road.” Munar said a motorcyclist jumped off his bike and ran across the busy Highway 65 toward the helicopter to help the pilot, who was able to crawl out of the wreckage. “He risked his life,” Munar said, referring to the motorcyclist. Savage said citizens were the first on scene, followed by emergency units from CalFire, Wheatland, California Highway Patrol and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The helicopter, which had three-wheeled landing gear, lost its rotors when they hit the ground after making the turn to avoid traffic, according to Savage. Savage said Revenboer had a valid pilot’s license and that he did not plan to issue a citation but the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board had been notified, as is standard protocol. “It’s a relatively minor event,” Savage said, adding that two or three crashes per year is typical for the Lincoln area. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at