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Report on 2006 Helicopter Crash Cites Probable Pilot Error
The Kansas City Star

A pilot's failure to steer clear of power lines probably caused a helicopter crash that killed a Lenexa cinematographer last year, a National Transportation Safety Board report says.

Roland Schlotzhauer was filming a movie on June 30, 2006, when the helicopter he was in crashed in a cornfield about 10 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 50-year-old died at the site. Pilot Richard Green and movie producer Tony Wilson were seriously hurt.

Schlotzhauer, who had logged hundreds of hours filming from helicopters, was shooting a parade for "The Final Season," a movie about the storied 1991 baseball season of Norway High School.

The safety board report, released late last month, says investigators determined that the helicopter was traveling from 50 to 60 mph shortly before the crash and hit a power line about 50 feet high.

No aircraft, engine or control anomalies existed before the accident, investigators determined. Kathy Schlotzhauer, the cinematographer's widow, referred questions Friday to her attorney, Gary C. Robb of Kansas City.

Robb said he thought the safety board would amend its report to include information about a wire strike protection system that had been installed on the front of the helicopter, a Bell Jet Ranger 111.

The system was designed to sever any utility line in front of it, Robb said, but this time the wires got caught up in the helicopter.

The safety board investigator who handled the case was unavailable Friday.

Kathy Schlotzhauer has filed a lawsuit against the movie's producers, the pilot and more than a dozen others in Polk County District Court in Des Moines.

Robb said he expected the case to go to trial next year.

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Personal injury is an area of law that pertains to the injury of an individual. Both physical and emotional injuries fall into this branch of tort law. A personal injury lawyer is generally involved in cases where an injury has occurred due to the negligence of another party.

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