Friday, May 11, 2018

Hiller-Soloy UH-12DT, N2297W: Fatal accident occurred July 17, 2020 in Mehama, Marion County, Oregon

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Rotorcraft crashed under unknown circumstances.

Date: 17-JUL-20
Time: 15:54:00Z
Regis#: N2297W
Aircraft Make: HILLER
Aircraft Model: UH12D
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 137

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

A helicopter piloted by Terry Harchenko with Industrial Aviation Services Inc, drops off a bundle of Christmas trees during a harvest at Hupp Farms on October 27, 2017, outside of Silverton, Oregon.

First responders on scene of fatal helicopter crash on July 17th, 2020 in rural Marion County.

MEHAMA, Oregon — A helicopter pilot spraying Christmas trees east of Salem was killed July 17th in a crash shortly before 9 a.m.

Terry Harchenko, 65, was flying for Western Helicopter Services, a company that specializes in aerial spraying. The crash was reported near a Christmas tree field along Fern Ridge Road north of Mehama, Oregon. No one else was in the helicopter.

Sgt. Jeremy Landers, with the Marion County Sheriff's Office, said it is not clear why the helicopter crashed. The 1960 Hiller aircraft was found in a tree line next to the Christmas tree field where Harchenko was spraying. Investigators have contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Paul Washburn, branch manager for Western Helicopter Services in Newberg, said Harchenko was well known among Willamette Valley farmers from Albany to Woodburn. Harchenko's father founded Industrial Aviation Services in Salem, which was purchased by Western Helicopter Services in January.

"He's been in the flying industry since he was a young man," Washburn said. "I couldn't even begin to tell you how many hours of flight he had."

Washburn described Harchenko as a humble guy, eager to serve and passionate about flying.

"He was always willing to help everybody," Washburn said. "He enjoyed his industry and was a large part of it."

According to the company's website, Western Helicopter Services employs 5 full-time pilots with more than 100,000 hours of pilot-in-command flight time. It is licensed to spray in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and California.

In addition to forestry work, Western Helicopter Services also works with several county vector control districts in Oregon and Washington. The company also flies aerial surveys for Oregon State University's grass seed certification program.

Washburn said the sudden loss of Harchenko has left his co-workers in shock and mourning.

"It will be a long healing process to come to terms with it," Washburn said. "We are mourning for Terry, and will be for quite some time."

The Marion County Sheriff's Office was assisted on scene by the Stayton Fire District, Oregon Department of Forestry, Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Marion County Medical Examiner's Office.

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