THE family of a Merseyside pilot who died in a helicopter crash with his student have demanded answers from the aircraft’s manufacturer as to why its engine lost power.
The call comes after the conclusion of a four-day inquest into the death of Rainhill instructor Steven Lewis, 38, who was giving flying lessons on a clear, dry day to pupil Philip Gray, 46, over Poulton-le-Fylde.
Mr Lewis put out a Mayday call mentioning the word “failure”, 20 minutes into the flight from Blackpool airport.
Seconds later, the engine of the two-seater Schweizer 269 helicopter lost power around 12pm on September 22, 2009, forcing the aircraft into an auto-rotation, meaning the pilot had limited options to land it safely.
The pair died instantly from multiple injuries when the aircraft plunged onto the east bank of the River Wyre, near Hambleton.
A jury at Preston Coroner's Court delivered a narrative verdict, saying that “they could not clearly state what the sequence of events were that caused the loss of usable engine power”.
However, the family urged the aircraft manufacturer to undertake further investigations.