SkyFOX Crew Reacts To Seattle News Chopper Crash - KMSP-TV

SkyFOX Crew Reacts To Seattle News Chopper Crash

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PHILADELPHIA -

"Everyday you've got to be thinking what's going to happen if I lose this, what's going to happen if this happens."

SkyFOX Pilot Alex St. Pedro is a veteran helicopter pilot who has not only flown the skies over Philadelphia, but also the very busy airspace over New York City. Word that a news chopper had crashed in downtown Seattle gave him pause for thought.

"Obviously very sad, especially working in the industry you never want to see that happen," St. Pedro told Fox 29.

"There's obviously shock involved," said SkyFox cameraman Al Nugent. "It's constantly in our minds all the time."

Nugent has been flying the skies over the Philadelphia for over thirteen years. He says not a day goes by when he doesn't think about the possibility of a crash.

"Obviously we live in an environment where safety is the primary concern. It's the first order of the day," Nugent said during an interview at Northeast Airport.

St. Pedro and Nugent were flying Tuesday morning over the scene of a car that had plowed into a building. They say flying at low altitudes to shoot news video in an urban environment presents lots of challenges, especially with a rooftop takeoff like the one in Seattle.

"It adds an element of danger, but it's pretty much done everyday," Nugent explained.

"If there's other buildings around it you can get different wind patterns and you're not always going to see that with a wind sock," St. Pedro added.

The two veteran flyers also say whenever they're over the city, they're always on the look out for a place to set the chopper down safely in the event a problem develops while there in the air.

"In a city environment like that, obviously there's not a whole lot of open space so you're pretty limited as far as emergency landing spots," St. Pedro said. "You're looking usually off the front nose. The best landing spot might also be behind you so gotta pay attention to what you're flying over and where your'e at at all times."

St. Pedro has also flown helicopter tours in New York City. He says flying over the Big Apple is intense because the air space there is crowded with tour choppers, news helicopters and private aircraft.

Both veteran helicopter newsmen expressed their condolences to the families of the men on board the chopper that went down in Seattle.

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