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2 Pilots Die in Ala. Army Copter Crash

December 14, 2002

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (AP) _ An Army helicopter on a training mission crashed while returning to Fort Rucker, killing two pilots, authorities said Friday.

The U.S. Army Aviation Center said the AH-64D Longbow Apache crashed Thursday night about 12 miles from Fort Rucker’s main post. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Fort Rucker, about 100 miles southeast of Montgomery, is home to the Army Safety Center, which investigates crashes of Army helicopters worldwide.

The victims were identified as instructor pilot Don L. Brown, 48, of Enterprise, Ala., and 1st Lt. Stephen J. Valent, a 31-year-old student pilot from Scottsdale, Ariz.

``We are deeply saddened by the loss of these two pilots,″ said Lt. Col. James Bullinger, command spokesman.

The pilots were conducting routine flight training when the helicopter was reported missing about 10 p.m. A ground and air search began after attempts to contact the aircraft by radio failed. The helicopter was found about 6:20 a.m. Friday in a wooded area.

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