A Saskatchewan pilot has been sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in a fatal airplane accident in the Northwest Territories.

Parker James Butterfield, 24, pleaded guilty last year to dangerous operation of an aircraft in connection with the May 20, 2010, incident that killed William James John Bleach, a friend and fellow pilot, in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T.


William Bleach, seen in an undated photo, died days after the May 20, 2010, incident in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., where he was struck in the head by the wing of a low-lying light plane.

The sentence was handed down Monday afternoon in a Regina courtroom. The Crown had asked that Butterfield serve as much as 18 months in jail, but a Queen's Bench judge sentenced him to half that much time.

The judge has also banned Butterfield from flying for two years.

"I'm devastated," Bleach's mother, Marilyn Bleach, told reporters outside the courthouse.

"I was hoping that there would be a longer-term incarceration, I really did. And I am shocked that he doesn't lose his licence."

Bleach, 26, was standing on the tarmac of the local airport with a video camera, filming a single-engine Cessna 207 that Butterfield was flying, when he was struck by the wing of the low-flying aircraft.

Transport officials have said the aircraft's right wing clipped Bleach's head. He died in an Edmonton hospital several days after the incident.

At the time of the incident, Butterfield and Bleach were working in Fort Good Hope for North-Wright Airways Ltd., which flies people and freight between eight remote communities in the Northwest Territories using a fleet of 21 small aircraft.

In sentencing, the judge said Butterfield is remorseful and poses a low risk to reoffend. At the same time, jail time is warranted for operating an aircraft dangerously, the judge ruled.