CW2 James D. Hopper was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 08/02/2012 at the age of 64.3 from A/C accident
White Oak, TX
Flight Class 69-49
Date of Birth 05/02/1948
Served in the U.S. Army
This information was provided by John Penny, Sammie Williams

More detail on this person: Hopper, James Daniel 64, passed away August 7, 2012 in Fairbanks, AK. James was born May 2, 1948 in Mount Kisco, NY. James had a distinguished military career in the US Army, having served in Vietnam from 1970-1971. He was a helicopter pilot and he obtained a Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. James enjoyed many hobbies and interests including flying, fishing, snorkeling, bird collecting and gardening. Surviving family members include his wife Melinda Hopper of Grandview, MO, sisters Delores Andrade of Costa Mesa, CA, Alice DiMaggio of Tempe, AZ and Cathy Parker of Loveland, CO, brothers Andy Olson of Tempe, AZ, Scott Olson of Scottsdale, AZ and Robert Hopper of San Francisco, CA. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, August 14th at 10:00 AM at The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints, 6001 S. Lakeshore Dr. in Tempe. The family has issued the following statement in regards to Jim: Jim was our brother and we were very proud of his accomplishments. The one thing that brings us peace is knowing he died doing what he loved-flying. As long as we can remember, he wanted to fly and along came Vietnam and the Army granted his wish. One of the things we loved most about Jim was how he responded to his Vietnam experience. Despite all of the violence and mayhem around him, he never lost his humanity-giving Hershey bars to VC prisoners hoping they'd remember being treated decently by an American.

Missouri man killed in helicopter crash near Pogo mine by Sam Friedman / sfriedman@newsminer.com Fairbanks Daily News Miner Aug 07, 2012

FAIRBANKS - A helicopter that crashed Tuesday outside of Delta Junction was used for exploration work for the nearby Pogo gold mine, according to a news release from the mine.

Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot as James Hopper, 63, a seasonal employee from Missouri, said trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen. Hopper‚«÷s next of kin have been notified.

Hopper was on the way to pick up some miners when for unknown reasons the helicopter crashed into a hillside, she said. He was the only one on board at the time of the crash and was declared dead on scene. The National Traffic Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

The helicopter was a McDonnell Douglas 600N, a light single-turbine helicopter with eight seats. It was registered to Aurora Aviation Services in Delta Junction in May and was previously registered in Illinois. The Federal Aviation Administration lists 4:45 p.m. as the time of the crash.

"In this sad time our prayers and sincere condolences go to the family and colleagues of the pilot," said Pogo Mine General Manager Chris Kennedy in a written statement. "Right now our primary concern is to help the family and co-workers deal with their loss. We will provide support to the contractor and outside investigators to determine how and why the accident occurred."

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime

Makeshift landing pad may be linked to fatal chopper crash Witness told NTSB investigators that a log was displaced.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: August 22nd, 2012 08:11 PM
Last Modified: August 22nd, 2012 08:12 PM

A helicopter involved in a fatal crash this month at the Pogo Mine, near Delta Junction in Interior Alaska, touched down on a makeshift log landing pad that appeared to have broken apart, investigators say.

Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot of the McDonnell Douglas 600N as Missouri resident James Hopper, 63, who flew the helicopter for Aurora Aviation Services to support operations at the gold mine.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released Monday, a witness told investigators he radioed Hopper for a pickup at a remote landing pad about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 7. The pad, made of interlaced logs attached with spikes, sat on a hillside surrounded by trees, the report says.

The witness said he kneeled next to the improvised helipad as the aircraft touched down. Hopper, the lone occupant of the helicopter, turned his head, apparently about to give the unnamed man a signal to board, the man said. But the helicopter pitched up and back. It hit trees and rolled down a hill about 100 feet, landing on its left side, engine still running, the witness told investigators.

Another witness reported he heard the crash from farther away and came running. As he passed the landing pad, he noticed a log at its back edge had moved, the NTSB report says.

"He noted that the long spike that attaches the log to the foundation was pulled out, and the log was displaced aft," the report says.

Down the hill, Hopper was mortally injured and the helicopter's fuselage, tail and rotor were destroyed. Medical staff at Pogo Mine pronounced Hopper dead, troopers said.

The NTSB's preliminary report is the local investigators' first publicly released report on the crash. A factual report and a report on the crash's probable cause from the full safety board will likely follow.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported representatives of three companies involved in the helicopter's construction -- McDonnell-Douglas, Rolls-Royce and Boeing -- studied the wreckage.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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