Gettysburg, Pennsylvania-based Haverfield Aviation Inc., will pay a New York woman $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 2012 helicopter crash that killed her husband.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford granted the motion to approved the settlement between the aerial power line inspection company and Brenda Crout, whose husband, Dale, 41, died while inspecting power lines in Corning, New York, for New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG). The crash also took the life of pilot Mackenzie Bleth, 24, of Grand Ronde, Oregon.
Though young, Bleth was an experienced pilot, having worked previously for Coastal Helicopters in Juneau, Alaska and Hillsboro Aviation in Hillsboro, Oregon. He had just started working for Haverfield Aviation, with his first powerline mission being the day before to the accident. Crout’s complaint stated that Haverfield only provided Bleth with 2.1 hours of total flight training and 27.2 hours of ground training before releasing him to fly powerline patrol three days before the accident.
On the morning of Nov. 12, 2012, Bleth and Crout were flying along power lines that run along the Chemung River in downtown Corning when the helicopter struck a cable on top of the power lines, spun, and came crashing to the ground, where it exploded on impact. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board conducted investigations.
Neither weather nor any mechanical issue caused the crash, Crout’s complaint states. Crout claimed that the helicopter company was to blame for her husband’s death because it did not properly train its pilot.