Helicopter crashed as pilot, a Montana bank CEO, practiced landings in California; 2 killed

CARLSBAD, Calif. – A helicopter crash that killed two men at a California airport occurred as the pilot was practicing landings.

The San Diego County medical examiner’s office says the helicopter’s tail struck the ground during a landing Wednesday and it spun out of control at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Both men aboard died at the scene.

The medical examiner identified the pilot as 65-year-old Bruce Allen Erickson. American Bank of Montana confirmed Thursday that Erickson was its chairman and CEO. Also killed was his friend, 60-year-old Wayne Frank Lewis of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California.

The bank’s website says Erickson had more than 25,000 hours of flight time and ratings to fly various types of airplanes and helicopters.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of the Airbus AS350 helicopter.