A 2000 Robinson R44 Raven I, registered as N808NV to United Helicopter Leasing and operated by Novictor Helicopters, crashed on Monday shortly after 9 a.m. local time while flying an air tour during heavy rains in the suburban Honolulu community of Kailua. The pilot and both passengers were killed.
The flight originated at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and came down on a two-lane road near the ocean. Family members identified the pilot as 28-year-old Joseph Berridge, who had moved to Hawaii two weeks ago from New Mexico. Berridge held an FAA second-class medical and commercial and instrument helicopter ratings. The two female passengers were from Chicago and Australia.
Novictor is operated by Nicole Vandelaar, president of the Hawaii Helicopter Association (HHA), an organization dedicated to encouraging its members to “fly neighborly” and adhere to strict safety standards. In October, another Novictor R44 crashed after the pilot suffered an in-flight medical emergency. That pilot and his two passengers were injured but survived.
Following Monday’s crash, Hawaii State Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R) called on the FAA to prohibit air tours over residential areas and national parks and called for the immediate grounding of helitour flights in Hawaii pending an investigation. In a statement, Novictor said, “The safety and welfare of our personnel and passengers are our top priority. We are actively cooperating with the authorities to determine the cause of this accident, including working closely with the FAA and the NTSB in its investigation.”