Americus accident recreated with helicopter and video - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americus accident recreated with helicopter and video

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Crisp County- The technology has been around for a while, but for the first time it's being used in a local case to help the jury better understand what may have happened in an accident.

Greg McNair and Mark Johnson will return to the scene of an accident in Americus. It's an interesting way to recreate the scene of an accident and bring it into the courtroom, by using a remote mini helicopter and camera.

"It's an electric helicopter. It comes from Germany. It's powered by lithium polymer batteries which is the newest technology in long life batteries," said Greg McNair, of AerialSouth.com.

It's happening in Americus with a train, truck crash. AerialSouth.com owner Greg McNair is recreating the train accident where two people were seriously hurt in February of last year. For Greg, it's a combination of passion and work.

"My hobby passion is helicopters always has been and I've been flying these helicopters for about 10 years," said McNair.

So, with the use of a video camera and the Maxi joker mini helicopter they can recreate something like an accident scene a let a jury feel like they're a part of the accident.

"Whether it's an industrial accident or an auto accident and we can film that and an animator will come on top of that video, it's called a plate, and they'll put their animation plate on top of that," said McNair.

That's where Mark Johnson comes in, he creates the graphics from what investigators can tell them.

"We actually get the data from civil engineers, who have calculated the physical dynamics of a collisions," said Johnson of Forensic Arts.

They fly the helicopter to recreate the scene then using the velocities and mass recreate the accident as if it's really happening.

"We like to say it gives them the actual view of what happened, it recreates the incident itself," said Johnson.

They say technology like that can have a real impact. "We attempt to recreate visually, so that in a case where some of the dynamic elements might have included a traffic collision or a plane wreck or a trucking accident we can actually show what happened," said Johnson.

The technology is also used to take still shots for real estate brokers or to video a piece of property for a real estate developer. The helicopter can usually fly for 20 to 30 minutes and it must follow similar guidelines set by the FAA for all aircraft.

posted by jennifer.emert@walb.com