The family of a pilot killed in a plane crash in western NSW on Monday lost his younger brother in a similar accident just five years ago.
Don Blanch, aged in his 50s, died when his crop dusting airplane crashed at 8.20am on a rural property on Dandaloo Road, west of Narromine. In 2011 Don’s younger brother, Ben Blanch, died in a similar accident.
In a Facebook tribute to her son, Mary Blanch wrote, “My first born, my beloved son Don. Killed today at the exact same time as his little brother Ben, nearly six years ago.”
The Blanch family have a long history in the aviation industry. They run BlanchAir, a professional aerial spraying company based in Queensland. Mr Blanch had been flying for over 35 years, and was well regarded in the Australian aviation industry.
“We don’t know any details at this stage other than that Don was killed doing what he loved, flying a high performance aerial, spraying pests,” said his son, Chris Blanch.
Chris Blanch said of his father, “He was a strong advocate for both agriculture and the aviation industry and had the same pioneering spirit that his ag-pilot father had, constantly pushing the technological barriers.”
He said that aviation pilots provided a valuable service to Australia often despite grave risks involved.
“We would also like to remind people that aviation is inherently dangerous and we’re very proud of Don for the role he has played in aviation,” he said.
“He leaves behind a loving family and friends around the world, and a legacy of professionalism and integrity.”