LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Firefighters responded late Friday morning to a collision on the runway at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport that serves Fort Collins and Loveland.
According to a messages tweeted by the airport, a plane and a helicopter collided on the ground at the facility. There was one person aboard each.
Airport director Jason Licon later confirmed the person piloting the helicopter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
“It could have been much worse,” Licon said.
Video from Copter4 showed the helicopter laying on its side at the edge of the runway, its tail twisted and both rotors destroyed. The plane sat in the grass off the runway farther to the north.
“Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft both use the runway,” Licon said. “Helicopters follow the same procedures, utilize the same areas. They can take off from the ramps, but during testing of their instruments for flying in bad weather, they need to use the same approach (as planes).”
However, Licon noted, “We don’t know if the (helicopter) pilot was doing that (today).”
Neither craft, Licon said, is from the area.
Personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Allen Kenitzer of the FAA said preliminary information at this time reveals the accident happened “when a Robinson R44 helicopter and a Beech BE36 Bonanza collided under unknown circumstances at the end of the runway in Loveland.”
The Northern Colorado Regional Airport re-opened at 3:48 p.m. after a closure of nearly four hours.