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Incident Name: A new fire on the Bear Springs RD, Mt Hood NF; it was less than 10 miles from the Ripplebrook Heliport (where the helicopter had been supporting firefighting efforts on the Kite Fire) to the new fire report on the Bear Springs RD.
Date: July 27, 1974
Personnel:  2 lives lost
Age: 
Agency/Organization: Corvalis Aero Service on contract with the US Forest Service
Position: 

Summary:
David Wolfson, 22, Asst Helitack Foreman, Mt Hood NF of Chicago IL
Randolph Kishpaugh, pilot, 24 of Corvalis OR

A second FS firefighter, David Kennedy,  was badly injured but survived.

On July 27, 1974, a helicopter carrying two FS fire personnel and a pilot lifted off from the Ripplebrook Heliport, Clackamas RD, Mt Hood NF, en route to a new fire on the Bear Springs Ranger District. They previously had been assigned to the Kite Fire. The helicopter turned the wrong way: instead of heading down canyon over the river to gain altitude, it turned uphill, hit the tree tops and fell back to the ground, killing the pilot and David Wolfson and severely burning another Forest Service firefighter.

 

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Accident occurred on take-off from Ripplebrook Heliport, Clacamas Ranger District, Mt Hood NF.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

This plaque is located at the old Bear Springs RD, Mt Hood NF.

David Wolfson Plaque David Wolfson Plaque
  • Aviation Information and plaque photo above are from a retired friend of David's.
    • July 27, 1974
    • 2 killed: David Wolfson and Randolph Kishpaugh; also injured another FS firefighting employee
    • Operator: Corvalis Aero Service on contract with the US Forest Service
    • Type: helicopter - unknown
    • Location: on takeoff from the Ripplebrook Heliport, Clackamas RD, Mt Hood NF
    • FAA Registration # unknown
    • NTSB # none; the National Transportation Safety Board did not investigate this accident.
  • The accident was not reported in the Forest Service Fatal Aviation Accident History 1974-2002 or in the Appendix of the Rotor Wing Accidents.
  • Article on the accident; the information about the fire (smoke check) they were going to is not right. The helicopter had been working out of the Ripplebrook Heliport on the Kite Fire, but at the time of the accident it was responding to a new fire on the Bear Springs RD, Mt Hood NF; it was less than 10 miles from the Ripplebrook Heliport to the new fire report.
    • David Wolfson & Randolph Kishpaugh David Wolfson & Randolph Kishpaugh
      David Wolfson & Randolph Kishpaugh David Wolfson & Randolph Kishpaugh
  • USFS Heroes Memorial: David Mark Wolfson
  • Additional confirmation that David died on that date: David Mark Wolfson

    Additional confirmation that Randolph died on that date: Randolph Kishpaugh Randolph was survived by a spouse, Joanna.

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Contributors to this article: Gordon Foster, FMO at Bear Springs at the time of David's death; John Miller

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