Police ID pilot killed in Tinicum Twp. helicopter crash (PHOTOS)

TINICUM, Pa. - October 17, 2012


The pilot is identified as 52-year-old Cpl. Doug Brigham, a 24-year veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police who retired early last year.

Brigham worked for a private New Jersey-based air charter company called Catalyst Aviation.

That company owned the aircraft, but Brigham was known to bring it home and land it in the backyard of his Everbreeze Drive home. It was from that backyard helipad that the helicopter took off Wednesday morning.

It was around 6:30 a.m. when neighbors say they heard a "loud bang", and then saw flames shoot up in the wooded area off of nearby Uhlerstown Hill Road.

"It was foggy and it was dark. And we heard a bang shortly after," explained neighbor Peg Carlita.

According to authorities, the helicopter clipped some trees as it descended and crashed onto the side of a steep hill. Brigham was ejected prior to the crash, thrown hundreds of feet to the bottom of a ravine. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neighbors were distraught as word of Brigham's death spread and his body was removed by the coroner.

Brigham was married but had no children. He was Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for Tinicum Township, a volunteer for Patient Airlift Services and a member of the Delaware Valley Volunteer Fire Company, whose members located him at the bottom of the steep hill.

Area rescue companies took over the job of bringing Brigham's body up the incline so his company members wouldn't have to.

"It was hard to hold the guys back because they do want to go down and get their fellow brother out," said Delaware Valley Volunteer Fire Company Lieutenant Calvin Trovinger. "It's tough. He enjoyed what he did. He enjoyed flying. He always talked about it."

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum confirmed that Brigham was a great-grandson of the nation's 31st president, noting that his mother was Margaret Hoover Brigham, who died in 2011, and that her father was President Hoover's eldest son, Herbert Hoover Jr.

Brigham flew choppers for the State Police and received a commendation from the county in 2010 for his assistance in a search for a missing person.

Tinicum Township Police Chief James Sabath said, "He was a great guy. He was one of the best guys you would ever want to know. He was always there to help. After he retired from State Police he became even more involved in the community because he had more time to devote to the community."

Brigham had a scheduled flight Wednesday morning, though the details of that flight have not been released.

The FAA says the helicopter was a Canadian made Eurocopter AS355. The NTSB is now handling the investigation.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this article.

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