Members of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office responded to a helicopter crash in the Town of Gaines Tuesday afternoon.
The private helicopter crashed at Gaines Valley Aviation on Gaines-Waterport Road. The incident happened as the pilot was attempting to land, officials say.
The 64-year-old pilot, Alan Heard, was the only person in the ultralight helicopter, which he built himself.
According to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, the Waterport man typically goes only about ten feet off the ground, but flew 100-200 feet in the air on Tuesday.
That’s when Heard began having mechanical issues.
A witness said he heard a pop and saw the helicopter crash and catch fire. He then ran to help the pilot, whose clothes were on fire.
Heard was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with burns. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
As of Wednesday afternoon, he remains in guarded condition at the hospital’s ICU.
FAA investigators secured parts of the helicopter and a GoPro camera as they investigate the crash.