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Sheriff's Office identifies pilot killed in gyroplane crash south of Roseburg

Cavalon AutoGyro (Credit: Vitaly Kuzmin / CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Deputies and federal authorities began investigating an apparent helicopter crash in Douglas County on Thursday.

Posted: May 29, 2020 5:54 PM
Updated: May 29, 2020 5:58 PM

WINSTON, Ore. — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has identified a man killed in an apparent helicopter crash south of Roseburg on Thursday.

Dispatch received a 911 call about the crash near the 2300-block of Glengary Loop Road shortly after 2 p.m. The area is on the east side of I-5 across from the town of Winston.

"Deputies along with the Winston Police Department, Douglas County Fire District #2 responded and located a downed burning helicopter on private property," the Sheriff's Office said in a brief statement on Thursday. "It was determined that at least one individual died in the crash."

On Friday, the county Medical Examiner's Office identified the pilot as 77-year-old Lee Pauling of Olympia, Washington. Pauling's next of kin has been notified.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Pauling was flying a maroon Cavalon AutoGyro (gyroplane) when he crashed on Thursday afternoon. He was declared dead at the scene, and was the only person on board at the time.

A gyroplane or gyrocopter is similar to a helicopter in that it uses a top-mounted rotor, but the rotor itself is not powered. Instead, the machine uses a rear engine for forward propulsion, while the top rotor spins freely to generate lift.

The Sheriff's Office said that it is still working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the investigation.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

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