GRAVESEND — A 19-year-old model helicopter enthusiast was killed when his toy aircraft crashed into his head in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon in front of his stunned father, sources said.
Roman Pirozek, 19, of Woodhaven, was flying his radio-controlled chopper near the Calvert Vaux Park at Bay 44th Street and Shore Boulevard shortly after 3 p.m. when the helicopter lost control and veered into his head, sources said.
One of the helicopter's propeller blades sliced off a piece of his skull, sources said. He was declared dead at the scene, according to the FDNY.
Sources said Pirozek was flying his helicopter with his father, Roman Pirozek Sr., a retired MTA worker who relatives said introduced him to model airplanes at a very young age. Pirozek's interest later migrated to radio-controlled helicopters, and he traveled around the country to model helicopter conferences, where he and other buffs traded tips on the best gear and techniques, according to his Facebook page.
"Great day for flying, the new frame brace is working great, breaking in some new packs i just got [sic], they are the best that I have flown so far and loving them," Pirozek wrote on his Facebook page Aug. 25, after posting two photos of a sleek model helicopter as part of a conference for the radio-controlled helicopter maker Align Corporation in Delaware.
Relatives were reeling from the news on Thursday.
"My parents called and said that he had gotten into an accident," said Pirozek's sister, Amy Pirozek, 17. "They didn't know if he would be okay. I just knew."
Amy Pirozek said her brother, who was the vice president of the Seaview Rotary Flying Club, was fiercely devoted to his hobby.
His Facebook page was blanketed with photos and comments about his helicopter, including the most recent post last week.
Amy Pirozek said she last saw her brother Thursday morning when she arranged to have him give her a lift to softball practice at 4 p.m.
"He said, 'I'll see you later,'" she said through tears.
But she said she knew that something was wrong when he didn't show, she said.
Though he poured much of his free time into model helicopters, his goal in life was to join a big construction union, his sister said.
"That was his dream since he was young," she said.
Roman Pirozek graduated last year from the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture, according to his Facebook page.