Flight instructor killed in helicopter crash at Hayward airport identified, student in critical condition

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- One person was killed and another injured after a helicopter crashed at Hayward Executive Airport Monday afternoon. Investigators from the NTSB will be in Hayward on Tuesday.

Scott Matthes heard the crash at the airport.

"I heard a loud bang, I parked over there and saw smoke and a lot of commotion."

The crash happened around 2:30 pm Monday near runway 28 Left, the helicopter flipped upside down. Airport officials say a flight instructor and a student were doing training flights.

"They were practicing hovering unique to helicopters, something happened and the helicopter crashed," said Hayward Airport Manager Doug McNeeley.

A student pilot was injured in the crash, but his flight instructor was killed. The Alameda County Coroner identifies him as Wayne Prodger of Sunnyvale.

Friends of Prodger say he was a longtime instructor at CFI Helicopters Flight School. Many are stunned.

"It's sad, I just ran into him several times today-- the next thing you know, I won't be seeing him-- disturbing," said Balvinder Chadha.

The FAA says Prodger and his student were flying in a Robinson R44 helicopter.

"The Robinson models are popular for flight instruction, considered the gold standard," said McNeeley.

The chopper is owned by Pacific Helicopters, according to the FAA.

What caused the crash is still unknown. The FAA will also be investigating what went wrong with the training flight.
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