NY National Guard statement on the investigation into the Jan. 20 crash of a UH-60 in Mendon NY

ROCHESTER, NY (07/01/2021) (readMedia)-- The New York National Guard again extends our deepest sympathies to the families of the three pilots killed in the January 20 helicopter crash.

The Black Hawk helicopter went down during a training flight near Mendon, N.Y. All three crewmembers onboard the aircraft - Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, 54, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch, 39, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial, 30 - died at the scene.

The subsequent Army investigation reviewed the aircraft itself, its maintenance records, training flight preparations and standards, the aircraft flight recorder and all the details of the Army Readiness Center research to determine the cause of the crash.

All three families were notified of these investigation findings in personal briefings by the unit's senior leadership.

The investigation determined that the cause of the crash was a procedural error during an emergency training maneuver. The Army has since restricted practicing that emergency procedure to flight simulators only.

The crew were members of the 642nd Aviation Battalion and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, a medical evacuation company based here at Rochester International Airport.

All three pilots were experienced combat veterans.

The three had more than 50 years of combined flight experience who were all devoted to Army Aviation and flying.

Military aviation is inherently risky due to the complex flying environments that our pilots and crews have to prepare for. It can also be an unforgiving environment, with life and death decisions and actions, no matter the circumstance, whether mechanical, weather or crew related.

Chief Warrant Officers Skoda, Koch and Prial were doing what they loved and what they had committed their military careers to – flying.

The company has since resumed flight operations and training in mid-March and continues to review and improve its aircrew training program.