Aviation Accident Lawyers
November 30, 2020
As of the end of March 2019, all school bus drivers in Georgia may need to be vetted twice per year by public safety officials. Georgia lawmakers recently passed a bus driver safety bill in the state Senate and House. The Georgia Senate passed the bill unanimously on March 26. The bill would... continue reading
Less than 100 miles north of Macon lies the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic since 1998.In fact, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport held that title by number of landings and take-offs for almost the last decade as well. DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Fulton County Airport, Macon Downtown Airport, Baldwin County Airport, W. H. “Bud” Barron Airport, and Robins Air Force Base also have their fair share of traffic. While millions of flights on aircraft, from jumbo jets to single seaters, transpire without incident, others do not go smoothly. Take the Great Air Derby Disaster of 1928. A plane slammed into Cherry Street in downtown Macon, killing the two pilots onboard, fatally injuring a bystander, and causing a dozen people to be injured in the ensuing panic. The small bronze propeller in the sidewalk in front of the Parish Restaurant commemorates the tragedy. While that crash was the result of an errant bomb, a 2014 crash into a south Bibb County swamp that also killed two pilots was due to engine failure. The possibility of problems that can cause planes to crash are as varied as the planes themselves, but most aviation accidents happen because of negligence: Pilot error is the most common cause of plane crashes, accounting for as many as half. Pilots may incorrectly believe that an automatic warning system is malfunctioning, use the wrong runway, miss the runway, land too fast, make a navigational error, experience spatial disorientation, or descend prematurely. A prominent safety issue is attempting flight under visual flight rules (VFR) when instrument meteorologic conditions (IMC) exist. According to a study in the Journal of Aviation, “when VFR-into-IMC accident pilots inadvertently enter cloud, they either fly under controlled flight into terrain (CFTT) or experience spatial disorientation and lose control of the aircraft resulting in an unrecoverable unusual flight attitude (e.g., spin or graveyard spiral) or inflight structural failure … for the pilot who does not have adequate instrument flight training, the average time from cloud entry to loss of control or ground impact is 178 seconds.”
Common human behavior can also be the basis for pilot error, such as being distracted by conversations; flying when overly tired or under the influence of alcohol; or being improperly trained.Mechanical errors are also commonly to blame for aircraft accidents. These typically result from a defectively designed part, a defectively manufactured part, an improperly repaired part, or a lack of maintenance. Manufacturers and sellers of airplane components can be legally liable if they produce a defective product that contributes to a plane crash, as can ground crew who fail to exercise reasonable care in their maintenance or repair work. Just last year, well-known actor and avid pilot Harrison Ford was injured in a crash that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined was not his fault. Rather, there was an issue with maintaining the carburetor that resulted in loss of engine power of the single-engine Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR. Other errors that can result in aircraft accidents include air traffic controllers who incorrectly advise pilots, airlines that authorize a flight in the face of severe weather, cargo that was improperly loaded, contaminated fuel, or obstructions on the runway. When a plane crashes, an investigation is immediately opened by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine what went wrong and whether it could have been prevented. The process can take a long time to conduct and involves painstaking research into flight logs, maintenance reports, air traffic control records, security reports, debris fields, and more. Filing your claim while the investigation is ongoing increases your chance of recovering the compensation you deserve and preserves your rights from being barred by the applicable statute of limitations.