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Record-holding pilot killed in Riverside County helicopter crash

July 10, 2012 |  5:51 am

 A pilot who held national and international speed records was identified as the man killed in a helicopter crash in Riverside County on Monday.

Coroner's officials identified the victim as Carl Johan Nurmi, of Corona, and said he was piloting the single-engine Robinson R22 helicopter when it crashed about 10:15 a.m.

The helicopter went down in a field in the Winchester area off Borel and Buck roads, about five miles east of the French Valley Airport, said Deputy Albert Martinez of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. A passenger whose name has not been released suffered minor injuries.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Nurmi, who had more than 24 years of flying experience and held 12 helicopter speed records, is the owner of USA Academy of Aviation, a helicopter flight school based out of the French Valley Airport, according to the school's website.

Travis Reid, 21, of Temecula, told the Press-Enterprise he was a former student of Nurmi's and also was a co-pilot on three of the world record flights.

"The way he died, it was the perfect way for him," Reid said. "The helicopter was not a machine to him. It was an extension of him."

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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

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