Flight Instructor and Student Pilot Who Died in Newberg Helicopter Crash Identified

July 6, 2015

The student pilot and flight instructor who tragically perished during a 7/1/15 helicopter accident near Newberg, Oregon, in what was described as a routine night-time training flight, have been identified. According to an Oregonian article by Kelly House, the Precision Aviation flight instructor was Anthony Gallerani. The student pilot, Kristian Blackwell, was enrolled at the Klamath Community College (KCC) aviation sciences program. However, the president of the college reported that night-time training was not a part of the curriculum. The report further noted that KCC announced plans to temporarily suspend all flights while the crash is under investigation by the FAA. The full article is available at Man killed in Newberg helicopter crash identified as Klamath Community College Student.

The report cited above stated that according to Precision managing director, David Rath, "Precision Aviation had not had a crash in 32 years of operation."

Rath's statement conflicts with information found in the National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Database which lists multiple accidents associated with Precision Aviation, Precision Helicopters, and/or the Chehalem Airpark.[1] Please note, according to their website "Chehalem Airpark is a public use airport owned and operated by Precision Aviation."[2] See the posting on the Chehalem Airpark accident history at Student Pilot and Flight Instructor Die in Helicopter Crash Near the Chehalem Airpark for more information on this topic.

Increased Risk Posed by Night-time Flying

Aviation industry documentation cites a number of reasons for the heightened risk posed by night-time flying including, but not limited to, reduced visibility, increased spatial disorientation, and fatigue.[3] Per a 2012 Plane & Pilot article,

"Accident statistics suggest that flying by night accounts for about 10% of the general aviation accidents, but 30% of the fatalities. That suggests night flying must be inherently more dangerous than aviating when the sun is up. The rules for night flying are more stringent in many countries than they are in the U.S., apparently in recognition of an increased level of risk."[4]


[1] Aviation Accident Database and Synopsis. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Available on-line at http://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx.
[2] Precision website. Available on-line at http://www.flyprecision.com/about/.
[3] Trescott, Max. Night Flying Safety. AVweb. (11/6/05). Available on-line at http://www.avweb.com/news/airman/190849-1.html.
[4] Cox, Bill. Twenty Things You May Not Know About Night Flying. Plane & Pilot: Aircraft Mechanic School. (5/22/12). Available on-line at http://www.planeandpilotmag.com/proficiency/flight-training/20-things-you-may-not-know-about-night-flying.html?start=1#.VZrF7xtVhHw.
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