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Leonard Gordon Knight


Pilot Knight was operating his helicopter fighting the Big Elk fire in the Rocky Mountain National Park. He was the sole occupant of the aircraft. Pilot Knight was dropping water on hot spots along the fire boundary. Just prior to the crash, witnesses heard Pilot Knight report that his helicopter was going down and saw the helicopter drop to the ground with the blades turning slowly. Pilot Knight was killed on impact. His death was attributed to head injuries. The 32-year-old French helicopter involved in the crash had a history of mechanical problems spanning the 9 months prior to the crash. NTSB accident number DEN02GA085 can be located through the NTSB aviation accident database at
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Leonard Gordon Knight was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

USDA Forest Service, Arapaho and Roosevelt Nationa
240 West Prospect
Fort Collins, Colorado 80526

Chief: Forest Supervisor Jim Bedwell

Age: 52
Rank: Pilot
Classification: Career
Incident date: July 30, 2002 18:45
Date of death: July 30, 2002
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: June 13, 2012