The pilot involved in Monday's fatal helicopter crash that killed Clayton Homes co-founder Joe Clayton was flying on an expired license that was extended because of the coronavirus pandemic, records show.
"The accident investigation will look at whether the pilot’s certificate is current. However, due to COVID-19, the agency has extended certain requirements ...," said Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration's Southern region.
Jim Clayton, the brother of the deceased and the pilot of the Eurocopter 130, survived the crash along with two others. All three were pulled from the Tennessee River a few miles from downtown Knoxville.
Joe Clayton was the sole fatality.
"The FAA will not take enforcement action ... against certain pilots or flight engineers who fly with medical certificates that expire between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020," FAA regulations state. "COVID-19 is placing a severe burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Requiring pilots to undergo in-person medical examinations would further stress the healthcare system, and would increase the risk of transmitting the virus through personal contact between the doctor and the applicant."
More details will be reported in Thursday's print edition of The Daily Times.