Flight company sued over deadly helicopter crash

The July 1, 2015 crash killed Anthony Gallerani and his student pilot Kristian Blackwell.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office mobile command post on scene of a helicopter crash (KOIN)
The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office mobile command post on scene of a helicopter crash (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The family of a pilot killed in a helicopter crash in July 2015 has filed a lawsuit against Precision Flight Training, Inc.

The complaint comes as a result of Precision Flight Training, Inc.’s “negligence, including negligent maintenance of a helicopter provided to Anthony Gallerani, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

Gallerani, who was employed with Precision Flight Training, Inc. as an instructor pilot, was killed in the July 1, 2015 crash along with his student pilot, Kristian Blackwell.

According to the lawsuit, the two were set to perform a “night orientation” flight-training using a Schweitzer 269C helicopter. About 15 minutes into the flight, at about 500 feet, the “aircraft drive system failed, and the aircraft lost power and altitude, and impacted the ground killing both pilots.”

The lawsuit alleges that 29 days prior to the crash, Precision Flight Training, Inc. “replaced a critical component of the aircraft drive system – the ‘short shaft’ – that transmits power from the engine to the aircraft rotor system.”

That negligence allegedly was:

– Failing to adequately hire, train and supervise employees in helicopter maintenance;
– Failing to properly maintain the involved aircraft “such that it could not be operated safely;”
– Failing to properly install the short shaft on June 2, 2015.

Gallerani left behind his fiancé and two sisters.

David Rath, the Managing Director and CEO of Precision Flight, told KOIN 6 News in a statement they just learned about the complaint:

Everyone here at Precision remains very saddened by the loss of Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Gallerani, we all lost a friend and a colleague. It was an emotional and challenging period for us at Precision and the families involved. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Anthony Gallerani. We had timely cooperation with the NTSB on all matters that pertain to the accident. Because now there is a pending lawsuit we cannot provide any additional comments as to the filing made by the Galleranis but know we respect their family very much.