On March 5, 2015, actor Harrison Ford took off from Santa Monica Airport in a restored World War II-era trainer, a single-engine PT-22. Almost immediately after takeoff, the aircraft experienced loss of engine power. Ford attempted to return to land at the airport but instead crashed at a nearby golf course. He suffered serious injuries, but survived to later reprise his role as Han Solo in "The Force Awakens."
Previously, we began looking at some of the legal theories that are used in product liability litigation. As we noted, strict liability is a common legal theory used in aviation-related product defect cases, because it allows consumers to more easily hold manufacturers responsible for defects.
In our previous post, we briefly looked at a case appealed to the Supreme Court which involves the issue of whether state aircraft design standards can be used to determine liability in aviation-related product liability cases, even if the Federal Aviation Administration had not approved the standards. As we noted, the case is important as it could change the way airplane design is done, as well as the way those injured by defective aviation equipment go about seeking compensation.
Whether you drive a car in New York or not, we suspect most everyone knows about the biggest defective auto part recall in history. We're talking about the Takata air bag action that is now affecting somewhere close to 75 million vehicles.
On November 30, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed mandatory inspections on approximately 1,600 Boeing and Embraer jets in an attempt to prevent catastrophic accidents resulting from a manufacturing defect on the planes' horizontal stabilizers. The defect could affect several hundred Boeing 737 planes, a widely used jet common to all major commercial airlines in the U.S. If you have traveled by air in the U.S., you have likely seen the inside of a Boeing 737.
We are finishing up our posts about an interview with a British pilot published by Business Insider e-zine shortly after Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 crashed. The pilot explained that every pilot operates with a three-word mantra: aviate, navigate, communicate. The priority is always flying the plane. In a crisis situation, then, it makes sense that the pilots would not always be able to make a distress call to ground control.
An investigation into National Transportation Safety Board investigations of small aircraft accidents suggests that the agency may not be as thorough as it should be. USA Today and a San Antonio, Texas, television station joined forces recently to take a closer look at the NTSB's accident reports. They discovered that courts -- judges and juries -- found manufacturers liable in many of the accidents the agency had blamed on the pilots. This is not a new development, either. The cases go back decades.
It's almost a cliché for people to worry that some kind of unexplained equipment failure is going to strike their aircraft when they are due to travel. Of course, the odds of being in a crash due to aircraft product defects is relatively slim. Even so, when something that seems inconceivable does happen to a commercial jet, it makes all of us sit up and take notice, regardless of where in the world it takes place.
For people who have a quest for high-adrenaline activities, it's hard to beat skydiving. Jumping out of a plane is the height of adventure for many people -- and the last thing on earth that many other folks would want to do. At any rate, skydiving continues to be popular, and many small planes in service are devoted exclusively to taking up those who want to get back to earth on their own.