Pilot in fatal copter crash identified as Apopka man


UMATILLA – A pilot who died after crashing a gyrocopter in a Umatilla yard Thursday morning was identified Friday afternoon as 73-year-old James Pensinger.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office had reported the incident on Thursday, but the release of the pilot’s name had been pending notification of next-of-kin.

Lt. John Herrell said deputies responded to a home in the area of Lake Dalhousie Estates, about 11:20 a.m. Thursday to reports of an experimental aircraft that had crashed in the yard.


The pilot, the lone occupant, died on the scene.

“Responding deputies found one person on board the aircraft and that person is deceased,” Herrell added.

Herrell said workers in the area heard a loud pop, before seeing the home-built gyrocopter plunge behind a tree line.

The 38335 North County Road 44A home is in a rural and lucrative neighborhood, Herrell said. No other injuries were reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.