SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A crew with the NTSB arrived at the Ramona Airport Wednesday morning to investigate a California National Guard helicopter that landed on its side in a forced landing at the airport Tuesday night.
National Guard Captain Will Martin told CBS News 8 during a routine training mission two guardsmen were on board the UH-60 Black Hawk when they had to make a forced landing on the west end of the runway at the county-owned general aviation complex located in the 2900 block of Montecito Road around 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The pilots were able to escape on their own with minor injuries. The helicopter rested on its right side. The cause is unknown and the captain says it's unclear if the pilots were scheduled to land in Ramona or return to the Joint Forces Training Army Air Field Base in Los Alamitos.
Military personnel showed up around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday and guarded the Tarmac and the damaged UH-60 Blackhawk.
Investigators haven't revealed any clues as to why it made a hard landing.
Jimmy Carter, who's operated a flight school since 1996, has his theories.
"That's a Blackhawk they're very sophisticated. I'm thinking mechanical error, not pilot,” said flight school teacher, Jimmy Carter.
The two pilots escaped with minor injuries.
"In that case that's a good landing because they walked away,” added Carter.
A captain with the State National Guard tells CBS News 8 that two pilots were flying the Blackhawk in a routine flying mission when they made a forced landing, which Carter says is unusual.
"Your helicopters are usually landing on the south side on the helipad over there or right the center line of the runway somewhere midfield,” Carter continued.
The captain says the chopper is from the Joint Forces Training Base out of Los Alamitos Army Field in Orange County, it's unclear if the helicopter was scheduled to land in Ramona or were scheduled to head back to base.
One factor considered Tuesday night was the that fog hovered over the runway.
"Aviate, navigate, communicate. Check your weather, check the bird, check yourself,” said Carter.
Military personnel and NTSB will investigate what caused the chopper to make a hard landing. A final report on the incident could take six to eight months.