Three pilots die in NY Natl Guard helicopter crash

| January 22, 2021

CW5 Steven Skoda, age 54, from Rochester, NY; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch, age 39, from Honeoye Falls, NY; and Chief Warrant Officer Two Daniel Prial, age 30, from Rochester, NY.

The KoB sends in the sad news that three warriors were lost in a helicopter crash this week while conducting a nighttime training flight. All three pilots were highly experienced aviators. From Fox News;

The UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer’s field near Mendon, south of Rochester, around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. There were no survivors.

The crew had been conducting night vision goggle proficiency training in the local training area, the National Guard said. The helicopter was based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport.

Skoda served in the Army from 1985 to 1987 and joined the National Guard 1987. He was a veteran of the Afghanistan War and was deployed there in 2013 and 2019.

He was a UH-60 senior instructor pilot and maintenance test pilot with nearly 5,000 flying hours and worked full time as a National Guard technician.

Koch, a 20-year member of the Guard, served in the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. He also was a civilian pilot for the New York State Police, which said he was recently honored by the Red Cross for his role in the rescue of an 11-year-old boy who fell 100 feet down a ravine in June.

Koch is survived by his wife and four children, state police said.

Prial served in the Army after earning a commission at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2012.

He served as a medical evacuation platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade and deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015. He became a captain before accepting an appointment as a warrant officer in the Guard so he could continue to fly, officials said.

Prial worked at the Aviation Support Facility as a federal technician.

Category: Army, National Guard

Comments (17)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    Dammit. The infamous routine training flight strikes again. Fair winds and following seas.

  2. KoB says:

    One never knows when they may called upon to cash that Blank Check that many of us signed.

    Godspeed and Farewell Warriors. May His Peace bring His Comfort to your Families and Compatriots.

    Slow Hand Salute!

  3. ChipNASA says:

    “He became a captain before accepting an appointment as a warrant officer in the Guard so he could continue to fly, officials said.

    FAKE NEWS!!!

    Has anyone ever really *seen* a real WO??

    Yeah, ok, enough with the funny…I was just being a a little flip because I have a Sad about losing 3 such fine and experienced individuals. Actually I would still be sad if they were shitbag Privates because they were members of *our* military. That’s still a thing. The “blank check” KoB referred to, still applies to the lowest of the low and the highest of the high, in our military.

    Rest well my brothers. You’ve certainly earned it, x 1,000.

    😢😢😢

    • murdock says:

      lotta fellas step down from commissioned to WO — I tried to revert from 1LT to CW2 back in the 90s Appointments to WO1 promotion to CW2 and then a commissioned warrant officer at CW3– fyi

  4. Commissar says:

    CW2 Prial is wearing captain’s bars.

    Maybe he was a former aviation officer? Or possibly his rank is not accurate in the description?

    • Commissar says:

      Nevermind, just read the write up.

      Commented too fast after having seen the pictures and their names/ranks.

      Pretty admirable that he cared more about flying than promotions.

    • penguinman000 says:

      He picked up captain then decided he would rather keep flying. So he got an appointment as a warrant in the guard.

      It’s in the article.

    • Ack-Ack says:

      he was a friend of a friend and he dropped his commission to save lives as a medevac pilot. Til Valhalla!

      Name edited to protect PII.
      AW1

  5. Fyrfighter says:

    R.I.P. Warriors

  6. murdock says:

    lotta fellas step down from commissioned to WO — I tried to revert from 1LT to CW2 back in the 90s Appointments to WO1 promotion to CW2 and then a commissioned warrant officer at CW3– fyi

  7. Hondo says:

    Rest in peace, men. You’ve earned that.

    May God comfort your family, friends, and professional colleagues.

  8. Graybeard says:

    Things like this are why, even when our loved ones are “just training” we family members are a little on edge until they return.

    May God bless and comfort their families and friends, and grant these men eternal peace.

  9. Tallywhagger says:

    Flying without any visual reference is difficult when everything is operating correctly. These guys knew how to do it and were good at it.

    My heart goes out to their families and prayer for the souls of the pilots.

    FWIW, winter flying around the SE side of Lake Ontario, at low altitude, with rapidly rising terrain puts a serious burden of reliance on electronic and air frame components.

    The UH-60 is VERY powerful, two engines at 1,630 shaft horse power, each.

    • timactual says:

      I had a friend in college who flew helicopters in Germany in the ’60s (pre GPS and all that stuff). Evidently every takeoff was an adventure into the unknown. Lots of unscheduled landings while the weather (hopefully) cleared.

  10. Dustoff says:

    Unlimited ceiling and visibility. Rest well Dustoff.

  11. Jay says:

    Prayers and blessings to the family of all three aviators lost. To every man and woman they touched with their life and experiences, I hope they find comfort.

    This is a great loss: not only of life, but of experience.