Upper Mission residents capture dramatic video of helicopter

Spiralling chopper in video

Rob Gibson

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.

Transport Canada says they have no record of a helicopter in distress Wednesday in Kelowna.

“After verifying, there was no ensuing accident and no control difficulty report received,” said the agency in a one-line statement to Castanet.

While multiple helicopter pilots have reached out to Castanet to say it appears the helicopter was conducting a training exercise, other pilots have contacted us to claim such an exercise should not take place in an area near homes. 

“Either this guy was in a legit LTE (loss of tail rotor effectiveness) situation and did a good job to recover it, or you've got some incredibly irresponsible pilots on your hands conducting training,” said one of the pilots who contacted Castanet.

Transport Canada did not comment on the safety of the location of the maneuvers. 

UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.

It appears a helicopter seen dropping in elevation quickly and spinning in circles in the Upper Mission Wednesday afternoon was all part of pilot training.

A helicopter pilot reached out to Castanet to explain just what those concerned residents were actually seeing.

He said the helicopter in the video was a Robinson R-44, which is used for the commercial helicopter pilot ticket.

"It looked to me like the instructor was either showing the student, or the student was performing a power off, auto rotate and then recover," he said.

"Even in the most basic helicopter course, you will learn in a loss of power situation to auto rotate, then at the bottom, you bring on the power and recover."

He said if it were an actual emergency or something serious, it would not have gone on for 10 minutes.

ORIGINAL: 4 a.m.

Residents of Kelowna's Upper Mission of Kelowna have reached out to Castanet to try and find out more information after they witnessed a dramatic helicopter manoeuvre.

None of the residents wanted to be identified, but one shared a video shot at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday that shows a black helicopter dropping in elevation quickly and spinning in circles.

"With all the fire stuff going on we thought, maybe checking for fires? But it was really loud and it started going 360 about three or four times, it looked like it was losing control and coming down really fast," one eyewitness tells Castanet.

The witness says people began gathering on the street to watch the event unfold, "we were expecting an explosion, we wondered if the person landed in the lake?"

The whole event lasted for about ten minutes, the video only captured the last few seconds and it appears the pilot regained control somewhere over Cedar Creek Winery.

Castanet has reached out to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada the Kelowna International Airport and RCMP for more information.

The eyewitness says, "I'm still shaken up about it. It was awful.'

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