Helicopter, plane collide

By Robert Eckhart
Staff Writer
Posted August 17 2003

A helicopter descended into a single-engine airplane in the sky above North Palm Beach County Airport on Saturday morning, sending both aircraft crashing to the ground, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Four people were involved in the 11:45 a.m. crash. All but one walked away with minor injuries. The plane, a Piper Pawnee, and the helicopter were total losses, sheriff's spokeswoman Diane Carhart said.

At the time of the crash, the airplane's pilot, flight instructor Timothy Barry, was towing a glider flown by student pilot Kevin Breen, 15, Carhart said.

The helicopter, descending during a training maneuver, hit the top of the plane, Carhart said.

When Breen saw the collision, he disconnected the tow cable and safely landed the glider, Carhart said.

Barry, 54, owner of Barry Aviation, was seriously injured and remained at St. Mary's Medical Center Saturday night.

Carhart said his wounds were not life-threatening.

A flight instructor in the helicopter, Eva Gehnke, 37, of Palm Beach Gardens, and student helicopter pilot Anthony Normenthe, of Jupiter, were treated at the airport by paramedics and released.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the crash, a spokesman said.

Patti Barry, wife of Timothy Barry, was among several family members at the airport when the crash occurred. She declined to comment.

Federal records show that both Barry and Gehnke have valid flight instructor certificates.