State News

Xe identifies pilot killed in helicopter crash

Posted February 25, 2009
Updated February 26, 2009

— The pilot of the helicopter that crashed on the northeastern North Carolina campus of the private security contractor formerly known as Blackwater was identified by the company as a decorated U.S. Army veteran.

In a statement, Xe (zee) officials said Glen H. Wenzel of Winston-Salem died when the MD-530 helicopter he was piloting crashed during a training flight with a student, whose identity has not been released.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter crashed when its skid caught on an object and flipped over.

Wenzel was an accomplished pilot, according to Xe. He began his professional career serving in the U.S. Army where his decorations included the Army Commendation Medal, Humanitarian Medal, Good Conduct Medal and 500 Hour Aviation Safety Award.

He held an airline transport pilot certificate, certified flight instructor certificate and airframe and power plant licenses. He had accrued more than 10,000 hours in various rotary and fixed wing aircraft; 2,500 of which were providing instruction to student pilots.

Wenzel joined the Presidential Airways team in 2006 and had flown emergency medical service, peace keeping and law enforcement missions. He had extensive experience in many different helicopters, including the Bell 214ST, Bell 412 and the MD 530.

As a flight instructor, he trained helicopter student pilots to proficiency in tactical maneuvers essential to their success when deployed overseas. He flew the MD 530 in support of U.S. operations in Iraq.

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  • discowhale Feb 26, 2009

    The story here should be that two men have died in a helicopter training accident.

    But the MSM, or our local segment anyway, decided to go after Xe and Army career angle. If it bleeds, it leads. Sad.

    Here's a heads up for the college educated, never been in the military types of the country's media, MOST of our professional pilots are military trained.

    Blackwater / Xe and other such security services rely on the prior military training of it's employees to carry out their missions. On the ground, or in the air. The military is about the only place to get the required hours and training needed to get started as a pilot.

    I'll bet when the name of the student is released, he was ex-military too.

    My prayers to the families.