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Articles Posted in Aviation Accidents

Alan Lavender, the former city councilor and mayor of Newburyport MA, was fatally injured when his single-engine plane crashed into the Prides Crossing condo complex in Methuen last month. The plane was approaching Lawrence Municipal Airport when the accident occurred, leaving the plane’s tail poking out of the building’s roof. Fortunately, nobody was home in the two condos impacted by the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the crash will consider several factors, including Lavender’s qualifications, the weather at the time of the crash, and whether the plane may have had mechanical issues. Witnesses reported that the plane “took a steep descent and disappeared behind the trees” prior to the crash. Investigators are urging any witnesses who haven’t yet come forward to do so, especially if they have photos or video of the incident. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed following an accident or injury.

Witness Accounts

The former mayor’s plane was home-built from a kit. The two-seat Sonex plane is actually a relatively common aircraft, and known to be of high quality. Emergency responders arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after the incident occurred. Although nobody was home in the two condos damaged by the crash, Nancy Downey was inside the building when the accident occurred. “I heard a loud boom and when I looked outside there was insulation coming down like snow,” she told the Herald. “It scared me half to death. … I hear planes all the time,” said Downey. Ron Coholan, a resident in an adjacent building, said this was the second accident in two decades. “I hope Lawrence airport will redirect flights,” said Coholan.

Was the Plane Defective?

Until the investigation determines the cause of Lavender’s accident, we don’t know if it was due to weather, lack of training, or a mechanical problem with the plane. However, the incident serves as a stark reminder that defective and faulty parts can result in serious injuries and death. If the investigation uncovers that defective parts caused the crash, Lavender’s family may choose to pursue a defective product liability claim or a wrongful death lawsuit.

Different Types of Defective Product Liability Claims

If you believe that a defective product has caused you harm, a MA injury lawyer can help you determine which type of defective product liability claim to pursue. Most product liability claims fit into one of three categories. These include:

  • Defective design – this occurs when the product’s design is inherently dangerous or faulty.
  • Defective manufacturing – this occurs when an error is made during the manufacturing process, usually at the factory. This is the most common type of product liability claim.
  • Failure to warn – this occurs when a product that has some type of hidden danger does not include adequate warnings or instructions to prevent injury.

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According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, the pilots of the Gulfstream IV jet that crashed at Hanscom Field last May did not conduct a pre-flight check and disregarded a cockpit warning light. The deadly Bedford, MA aviation accident killed the two men and five others on the plane.

Records indicate that the pilots, James McDowell and Bauek De Vries, regularly did not conduct the standard checks. Because of the failure to perform such a check on May 31, it wasn’t until the aircraft was moving at 150 miles an hour right at lift off that they discovered that the flight controls were locked and the plane could not ascend. Instead, the aircraft kept moving forward until it crashed into an antenna and lighting rig before bursting into flames.

Reportedly the gust lock, which is designed to prevent wind damage, had frozen the elevators and the rudder of the plane into place. The mechanism, which is supposed to limit the plane’s power in such conditions did not work as marketed. The manufacturer, Gulfstream, has admitted that the design of this particular gust lock was not correctly certified. The company did, however, put out advisories warning pilots to make sure the mechanism is disengaged before revving a plane’s engine and to make sure to check flight controls before starting to taxi the aircraft.

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a pilot’s propensity to take selfies while operating an aircraft likely played a part in causing the small plane crash that killed him and his passenger in Colorado last year. The government agency issued its full probable cause report this week, saying that evidence shows that distracted piloting may have been a key factor in the fatal aviation accident.

The Cessna 150 crashed just four minutes after taking off on May 31, 2014. The pilot was Amritpal Singh. NTSB investigators said they discovered a GoPro camera among the wreckage. The camera had stored various recordings of the pilot and different passengers taking selfies with their cell phones. Camera flash function was used in certain instances during take off periods up through to flight times. Even though none of the videos found on the GoPro were taken during the flight that killed Singh and his passenger, investigators say that the pilot may have been taking selfies that night, too. They believe that this distracted him, resulting in spatial disorientation and loss of control.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations bar commercial pilots from using personal wireless communication devices or laptops for personal use while on the flight deck during aircraft operation. Pilots, however, are allowed to use cameras during the flight, just not cell phone cameras.

Seven people died in a Massachusetts plane crash on Saturday when the corporate jet of Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz went off the runway, fell into an embankment, and caught fire as it was attempting take off. The tragic accident took place at Hanscom Field, which is located outside Boston.

Katz and six others were killed in the Bedford, Ma plane crash. The other victims include the other three passengers, a cabin attendant, and the two pilots.

On Monday, investigators were able to get the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders from the private plane. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to determine exactly what happened.

The search for answers continue, as the passengers that survived Asiana Airlines Flight 214 when the airplane crashed in Northern California on Saturday go on with their efforts to recover from the physical and/or emotional injuries that they sustained. Two teens were killed and over 180 were injured when the Boeing 777 crash landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. An investigation also is underway to determine whether one of the teenagers died not from her plane accident wounds but from being struck by a rescue vehicle.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston injury lawyers represent victims of plane accidents involving large commercial fights and private aircrafts. We know the devastation that an airplane crash can wreak on the lives of victims and their loved ones, and we are committed to helping our clients recover all that they are owed.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman noted that passengers were at first told not to evacuate the plane until 90 seconds after the crash when a flight attendant saw there was a fire. The flight attendants on Flight 214 are being called heroes for their efforts to get everyone off the aircraft. Six of them are still in hospital.

Hersman said that one of the pilots reported being temporarily blinded by a flash of light as the plane approached for landing. The pilot in charge of the aircraft said that he failed to identify that the craft had slowed down a lot, even as he depended on the throttle control to keep the plane at the right speed. Hersman said the decelerated speed was one cause of the Asiana plane crash.

Another aviation incident that has also been in the headlines is the Alaska plane accident that killed all 10 people on board. The de Havilland DHC3 Otter appears to have crashed back down at the airport in Soldotna shortly after take off on Sunday. Two families and pilot Walter Rediske were killed. Unfortunately, there is no flight-data box or video of the plane crashing, so investigators won’t have these pieces of evidence to look to for answers.

Common Causes of Plane Accidents:
• Pilot error • Plane malfunction • In-flight instrument failure • Defective plane part design • Poor weather conditions • Air traffic control errors • Fueling mismanagement • In-flight icing
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 pilots delayed evacuation after San Francisco crash, NTSB says, Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2013

Team investigating Alaska plane crash struggles with few leads, Reuters, July 10, 2013

National Transportation Safety Board

More Blog Posts:
Family of Teen Who Fell from US Airways Jet in a Boston Suburb Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against US Airways, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, November 7, 2012
Two Plymouth Teens Injured in Texting and Driving Crash, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2013

Medford Postal Worker’s Collapse Reminds Outdoor Workers Dangers of Heat Exhaustion, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, July 8, 2013 Continue reading

Two years after Delvonte Tisdale fell out of a flying Boeing 737 and landed in a Boston suburb, his family is suing US Airways, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and the city of Charlotte, NC for his wrongful death. The tragic accident involving the 16-year-old in November 2010 made national headlines after Tisdale stowed onto the plane.

The teen had run away from home and was able to get onto the airport tarmac and then later into the wheel well of the jet, which was destined for Boston, undetected. Following Tisdale’s death, a security review determined that the airport’s police force was not adequate enough to provide proper monitoring of the property. Since then, certain security recommendations have been implemented there.

The wheel well of a plane is not pressurized and there is usually not enough oxygen there. Temperatures can become very cold, even going down to way under 0 degrees. A shattered plastic card was found on Tisdale’s body. The condition of the card likely was a result of freezing temperatures in the wheel well during the flight.

A Southwest Airlines passenger is suing the company and one of its flight attendants for burn injuries she says she sustained while being serve tea during a flight. Angelica Keller is seeking $300,000 for personal injury, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damages, as well as $500,000 in punitive damages.

The food injury accident allegedly occurred on December 28, 2011 while Keller was riding on Flight 955. She contends that the flight attendant gave her a cup of water that was “extremely” hot in another cup that was also carrying condiment packets and a tea bag. As the plaintiff tried to remove the tea bag, between the ‘hot’ paper cup with very hot water and the other cup, the liquid fell out and onto her groin area, causing her to sustain second degree burns, skin blisters, and permanent scarring.

Keller partially blames Southwest’s lack of tray tables in its planes’ front rows for her personal injury accident. She also believes that the airline served water that was too hot for use in a plane. Because she had her seatbelt on, Keller said it took her longer to get out of her seat because she couldn’t jump up right away. She claims the flight attendant wasn’t very helpful. Keller is contending that there was a failure to warn of the danger that can arise from drinking hot tea when there is a flight.

One person was killed and three were injured when a single- engine plane crashed Sunday afternoon near Leverett, a town in Western Massachusetts. It’s not yet known whether the person who was killed was the pilot or a passenger. The injured persons have been taken to area hospitals.

The plane was a 28-year-old Cessna 206G, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. It was registered to Airborne Maintenance, Inc., which is based out of Long Island, in 2005.

Massachusetts state and local police have responded to the scene, and federal investigators are on their way.

Although we don’t hear about plane crashes very often, they occur much more frequently than is publicly reported. About 80 percent of plane accidents occur right before take-off or landing. The majority of plane accidents occur because of pilot error. Mechanical failure is another common cause.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a plane crash, the owner, manufacturer, suppliers, pilots, or air traffic controllers might be responsible. Aviation accidents are extremely complex and require the skill of a highly-experienced lawyer. Call the lawyers of Altman & Altman LLP at 617. 492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online.

Source: The Boston Globe, Plane crash in western Mass. kills 1, injures 3
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Over the weekend, a pilot crashed the helicopter he was operating into a swamp near the MBTA’s commuter rail station in Halifax. As a result of the accident, the pilot suffered from broken bones and serious burns.

According to the authorities, the helicopter was “experimental” and may have been built from a kit.

The aviation accident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The injured pilot has been identified as a 50-year-old resident of Scituate.
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Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are trying to determine the cause of last Thursday’s deadly plane crash that killed all 49 people onboard the plane and another victim on the ground. Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into a Buffalo, New York home before bursting into flames. This is the first deadly aviation accident involving a commercial airliner in the United States in over two years.

Two areas of focus for investigators appear to be the icing on the plane and the aircraft’s autopilot. Right before Thursday’s plane crash, other aircrafts in the area reported icing problems. Now, some people are questioning whether the plane should have been on autopilot in such icy conditions, especially as some experts believe that activating a plane’s autopilot can make it hard for pilots to gauge the seriousness of icing conditions.

Just this December, the NTSB talked about how ice, as little as ¼ inches, can have a deadly effect on a pilot’s ability to handle the plane. The NTSB also explained that while activating the plane’s autopilot can minimize the impact of the plane’s icing, it could cause pilots to becoming too confident. The agency suggests activating the plane’s de-icing systems as soon as icing occurs. Also, according to CBS News, turboprop planes are involved in the majority of ice-related accidents. However, on Monday, an NTSB member cautioned about assuming that icing is what caused the plane crash until the investigation was complete.

Another factor that is under investigation is the pilot experience of Capt. Marvin D. Renslow, who had just completed training on a Dash 8 less than three months before. Renslow had accrued 110 hours in the turboprop’s cockpit-compared to Capt. Cesley Sullenberger, the pilot who was able to land US Airways Flight 1949 on the Hudson River in January, who had logged in some 20,000 hours.

Commercial Airline Accidents
Any kind of deadly aviation accident is always a catastrophe-and one that is further magnified when there are multiple victims. The more deaths there are, the greater the numbers of family and friends that will undoubtedly be impacted by the losses. If you’ve lost a family member in a plane crash, you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation.

Pilot Experience Eyed In Flight 3407 Probe, CBS News, February 17, 2009
Continental Flight 3407 reported ‘significant icing’ before crash that killed 50, The Buffalo News, February 17, 2009
Icing Played Down in Buffalo Crash, New York Times, February 19, 2009
50 Dead in Plane Crash Near Buffalo, N.Y., The Street, February 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Continental Airlines

National Transportation Safety Board
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