A CC-115 Buffalo aircraft of the type  that searched for a missing helicopter pilot and his aircraft from Langley.

A CC-115 Buffalo aircraft of the type that searched for a missing helicopter pilot and his aircraft from Langley.

Missing helicopter pilot found dead

After four days of searching, a downed helicopter and the body of its pilot were found east of Hope. The helicopter had left Langley Airport Friday evening.

Rod Phillipson was a survivor.

The 61-year-old veteran pilot went back to flying after suffering serious injuries in a fixed-wing crash in a Rocky mountain range several years ago.

He flew helicopters, working at pipeline patrol and movie support jobs.

Despite the economic downturn in the aviation industry, Phillipson was planning to open his own flying school at the Langley Regional Airport, where he’d owned his own hangar for about 10 years.

He’d acquired the necessary training aircraft and was planning to expand his hangar.

He was even setting up a website.

Airport manager George Miller described Phillipson as a  “fairly serious” and reserved man of few words who was unfailingly reasonable and civil.

“He was very easy to deal with” Miller said.

“I liked him.”

On Friday (Sept. 16), Phillipson lifted off from the Langley airport in a Aerospatiale A350 helicopter and headed for Kelowna.

When he didn’t arrive, an air search of the heavily forested and mountainous area was mounted.

At its height, two RCAF CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft and two CH-149 Cormorant helicopters were involved in the search along with 14 civilian aircraft, operated by CASARA [Civil Air Search and Rescue Association] volunteers flying from Chilliwack, Kamloops and Kelowna.

Phillipson was located Tuesday afternoon near Coquihalla Mountain by a civilian resupply helicopter not involved in the search.

Transport Canada and the coroner’s office are now investigating his death.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire search team are with the family right now,” search master Capt. David Burneau, of 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing Comox, said in a written statement.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read