Pilot Sentenced to 9 Months in Jail for Dangerous Operation of an Aircraft

A young pilot from Saskatchewan has been sentenced to 9 months in jail and has had his licence suspended for two years in connection with an incident that occurred at the Fort Good Hope Airport, NWT, on May 10, 2010.

Parker James Butterfield was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of an aircraft after the wing of the Cessna 207 that he was flying struck a co-worker, William Bleach.

Bleach was standing by the side of the runway filming while Butterfield performed a low pass.  A wind gust caused the aircraft’s wing to dip and strike Bleach in the head.  Bleach later died from his injuries.

In October 2011, Butterfield pled guilty to the lesser charge of dangerous operation of an aircraft.  On January 9, 2012, Butterfield was sentenced to 9 months in jail and had his licence suspended for 2 years.  The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench judge said that Butterfield was remorseful and posed a low risk to reoffend, though jail time was warranted for operating an aircraft dangerously.  The Crown had been seeking up to 18 months of jail time.