Israeli Helicopter Pilot Killed in NJ Crash

By Reuvain Borchardt

South Brunswick Police at the scene of the crash. (South Brunswick PD)

An Israeli pilot was killed when his helicopter crashed in New Jersey on Thursday.

The single-engine Robinson R22 chopper crashed at 3:27 p.m. in a stream in a wooded area off Lakeview Avenue in South Brunswick, approximately half a mile from State Route 27. South Brunswick Police on Friday identified the pilot as Josef Yitzhak, 44.

“We worked with Israeli Consul and Israeli police overnight to notify his family,” South Brunswick Police tweeted. “Chief Raymond Hayducka extends his deepest sympathy to the pilot’s family.”

Misaskim was on the scene to ensure kavod hameis.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson told Hamodia this was a solo training flight, in which the pilot is the only person on board, as part of training. The chopper departed Princeton Airport at 3:12 p.m., flying east, intending to return to that airport after the training flight completed.

But shortly after takeoff, when the chopper reached around 800 feet, witnesses reported that it appeared to lose control: the aircraft began flying erratically, and pieces began falling off, before crashing.

The NTSB said it has no recordings of any communications Yitzhak may have had. Princeton is a non-towered airport, so there is no air-traffic control for pilots to communicate with. While there is a radio channel on which aircraft pilots communicate with each other, that channel is not recorded and it is not known if Yitzhak had any communications after taking off.

NTSB expects to issue a preliminary report in two to three weeks, and a final report in 12 to 24 months.

(South Bruncswick PD)
Misaskim at the scene. (Misaskim)

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