Sask. pilot sentenced for causing death
A Saskatchewan pilot has been sentenced to nine months in prison in the death of another pilot who was hit by a wing of a low-flying airplane.
Parker James Butterfield, 24, had earlier pleaded guilty in a Regina court to dangerous operation of an aircraft causing death in the May 2010 incident that killed 26-year-old William James John Bleach.
The two pilots were working for North-Wright Airways in Fort Good Hope N.W.T. at the time of the incident.
Bleach was on the tarmac taking photos of a single-engine Cessna piloted by Butterfield as it took off from the Fort Good Hope airport.
Court earlier heard that the two men had agreed that Butterfield would fly the plane low to the ground as it passed over Bleach.
However, a wind gust caused the aircraft to suddenly lose altitude and a wing of the plane hit Bleach. He was taken to an Edmonton hospital, where he died from head injuries a few days later.
The Crown had sought a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months, while the defence had asked for a suspended sentence with probation and community service.
Butterfield showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down. Members of his family wept as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
In addition to the nine-month jail term, Butterfield will be prohibited from flying aircraft for two years.