Westminster man killed in helicopter crash was instructor, Marine

The wreckage of a Cirrus SR 22 airplane is shown in this handout photo courtesy of WBAL-TV/SkyTeam11, near Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick Oct. 23.
The wreckage of a Cirrus SR 22 airplane is shown in this handout photo courtesy of WBAL-TV/SkyTeam11, near Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick Oct. 23. (HANDOUT, Reuters Photo)

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a deadly midair collision between a helicopter and plane Thursday near the Frederick Municipal Airport that killed three people, including a helicopter instructor from Westminster.

Christopher David Parsons, 29, of Westminster, was an instructor for Advanced Helicopter Concepts, a helicopter training company based in Frederick, according to a statement released by the company Friday.


William Jenkins, 47, of Colorado, and Breandan J. MacFawn, 35, of Cumberland, were also killed in the crash, police said.

Scott V. Graeves, 55, of Brookeville, and Gilbert L. Porter, 75, of Sandy Spring, were in the Cirrus SR 22 airplane and were released from the Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown on Thursday evening, according to police.


Parsons moved to the Baltimore area after finishing his service in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from the Community College of Baltimore County with a degree in flight training, according to a bio on the Advanced Helicopter Concepts website that has since been removed.

Parsons was deployed to Iraq three times during his service with the Marines, according to his obituary on Fletcher Funeral Home's website.

His survivors include his wife, Ashlee Parsons; parents, Nancy Jane Stull Parsons and Keith Parsons, of Pelzer, S.C.; brother, Brian Parsons, of Pelzer; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Tina and Tom Grimes, of Taneytown; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Rachel and Garrett Wise, of York, Pa.; and brother-in-law, Jordan Grimes, of Taneytown, according to his obituary.

The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, at Fletcher Funeral Home, at 254 E. Main St. in Westminster, according to the obituary.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, at the funeral home followed by interment with military honors at Deer Park Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be offered to Ashlee Parsons, c/o New Windsor State Bank, 213 Main St., New Windsor, 21776.

Advanced Helicopter spokesman Chris Hollingshead called the crash a "terrible accident" and said the company is cooperating fully with the NTSB investigation. Hollingshead also said the company has voluntarily suspended operations for the time being.

Police have not identified who was piloting the helicopter when it collided with a small plane near the Frederick Municipal Airport shortly after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Maryland State Police.

The NTSB is investigating the crash in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration, said NTSB air safety investigator Brian Rayner.

At a briefing Friday, Rayner said a large team is on-site in addition to two other teams, one assigned to work on the helicopter and the other on the airplane. An air traffic control investigator is also in the process of interviewing at least one air traffic controller.

"I don't have a lot of specifics of the accident, but the information flow is very fast today," Rayner said.

As of 2 p.m. Friday, Rayner said he had no reports of any distress calls or maintenance issues with either aircraft.


"I'm still picking up all the pieces," he said. "I'll worry about what they mean later."

The on-site investigation is expected to last through the weekend, and the full investigation will take about a year, according to Rayner.

A preliminary report is expected to be released via the NTSB website in the next five to 10 days, according to NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

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