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U.S. Aviation Accidents Law Blog

Senate committee questions FAA official regarding 737 MAX crashes

Almost a year ago, New York residents received the devastating news of a crash involving an American-made Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane in the Java Sea near Indonesia. It was only a few months later that a second crash occurred in Ethiopia involving the same type of plane. It recently came to light that an investigation into the first crash by the Federal Aviation Administration concluded that the likelihood of more crashes was high. The top safety official at the FAA recently appeared before a Senate subcommittee to answer questions regarding the FAA's decisions following the conclusion of the investigation. 

The crashes were allegedly the result of a new stabilization feature that Boeing installed in the 737 MAX 8 that reportedly malfunctioned and forced the nose of each of the two planes into a dive from which the pilots could not recover. Following an investigation into the first crash, which identified a high likelihood of similar accidents, the FAA's response was to remind pilots about appropriate cockpit procedures. This despite the fact that pilots were not aware that Boeing had deployed the new system prior to the crash. Meanwhile Boeing worked quickly and quietly to develop and implement the necessary fix. 

Death of YouTuber shows potential recreational flying dangers

As previous posts in this blog have discussed, small plane crashes are more common than commercial airplane accidents. This is often due to pilots with less experience or the difficulty in keeping a smaller craft under control in adverse weather or mechanical emergency situations. Those in New York with a taste for adventure and thrill-seeking may want to consider the potential risks of such recreational aviation activities as paragliding.

The Washington Post reported on the tragic death of a popular YouTube personality in early August. Jonathan Grant Thompson, known to his followers as The King of Random, was killed in a paragliding crash in Utah. After a search recovered his body, authorities found video footage and are reportedly analyzing it for clues as to how the 38-year-old YouTuber crashed.

What is the FAA's Office of Investigations?

As the pilot of a small plane who uses airspace in or around New York, you will fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We at Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP, are here to explain what the purpose of this association is, and what their Office of Investigations does.

The FAA's Office of Investigations is in place to protect the National Airspace System (NAS). The NAS is the system involving all navigation facilities, airspace, and airports within the United States. It also includes their related services, rules, regulations, information, procedures, policies, equipment and personnel. The NAS services both the United States and international destinations from within the U.S. It is considered one of the most complex aviation systems in the world.

What kind of product liability damages can you collect?

When you board an airplane or helicopter in New York, you expect it to be airworthy and safe to ride in. You likely have heard or read the statistics that say air travel is safer than traveling in your own or someone else's vehicle. Occasionally, however, a plane can have or develop a defect that makes it unsafe and subject to a crash or other possibly catastrophic event.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, seller or owner of a plane, you can expect to recover several kinds of damages if you prevail in your suit.

What makes for an airworthy plane?

If you own and/or operate a plane in New York or anywhere else in the nation, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that that plane must be "in an airworthy condition." But what does airworthiness mean? reports that two factors go into airworthiness: the plane must conform to its type certificate as well as its authorized modifications; and it must be in a safe operational condition. When you are the pilot in command, you bear the responsibility for determining whether or not the plane is in a safe operational condition prior to flight. If you are the owner of the plane, you bear the responsibility for registering the plane and keeping it in an airworthy condition.

Committee to consider pilot hours following Boeing 737 crash

The tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last March is known to almost everyone in New York and elsewhere by now. Months later, experts are no closer to learning the exact details surrounding the tragedy that claimed 157 lives. Nobody is sure whether the pilots could have made different decisions that may have prevented the plane from going down outside Addis Ababa. The only factor that is known for certain is that an automated flight system that has been blamed in other Boeing 737 mishaps contributed to the flight crew's inability to override automatic systems and make manual adjustments to the plane's trajectory.

According to USA TODAY, a United Nations committee, the International Civil Aviation Organization, is scheduled to meet soon and discuss numerous concerns, including requirements involving the minimum flight hours before pilots and copilots are permitted to fly commercial airplanes internationally.

Why are private plane crashes risky?

As a pilot living in New York, you may own or fly small airplanes either as a hobby, for practice, or even for transport. Unfortunately, the litigation surrounding small planes can be complex if you get into a crash in one. Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP, is here to talk about why insurance and laws can get so complex with private aircrafts.

Commercial airplanes and private airplanes are unsurprisingly treated very differently in almost all manners, including by the law. They are also treated differently in terms of insurance. General aviation pilots tend to have a shockingly low insurance on their helicopters or airplanes. In fact, many have higher insurance for their cars. A lot of pilots have no insurance at all. The same can be true for aircraft mechanics, despite the fact that they work with planes on the daily.

1 dog the only survivor of New York small plane crash

On a recent Saturday morning, a small plane reportedly took off from Long Island MacArthur Airport. The only passengers aboard were two people and one dog. Not long after, the plane went down in the vicinity of Mattituck, New York, near the amusement area known as Harbes Family Farm. The fiery crash that resulted killed the two human passengers. Only the dog survived. 

Witnesses describe the plane flying low over the Harbes Family Farm property prior to the collision. It is not known how the dog managed to escape the wreckage, but a local farmer found it shortly thereafter. The plane was on fire when first responders arrived at the scene. Authorities have transported the remains to the coroner's office in Suffolk County. They have not released the identities of the two passengers pending notification of family members. 

Pilot loses life in small airplane accident in NY

Although some pilots have had years of training and experience, pilot errors, aircraft defects and malfunctions can lead to catastrophic accidents. When something unexpected happens, it is often up to the pilot to use his or her knowledge to minimize the disastrous effects of the incident. There are some cases, however, that are unavoidable and could injure or kill innocent people.

This is what happened when a pilot flying an Agusta A109E helicopter managed a crash-landing on top of a 51-story building. The pilot had dropped off his passenger a few moments earlier, and had resumed flight when he hit the top of the building. Firemen put out the resulting fire on the top of the building. While the exact cause of the accident was unknown, it was a foggy and rainy evening which could have affected the pilot's vision. Furthermore, the pilot had mentioned engine trouble or mechanical failure to others prior to crashing. The workers inside the building were evacuated and no one else was hurt in the accident.

What you should know to stay safe on your flight

Whether you travel regularly for work or leisure, or you board an occasional flight,  it is crucial that you understand what you can do to stay safe on the plane. Knowledge of potential safety issues may be extremely helpful in certain situations. Although it may be unlikely that an airplane accident occurs, you can be prepared to face a hazardous situation and minimize the risk of injury or death.

If an emergency should occur, it is unlikely that you will have a chance to retrieve your overhead carryon. It is best to have a separate bag with the essentials, such as your passport, wallet, medication, credit cards and your phone, in a small bag or pack that is with you at all times. Also, make sure that you avoid wearing high heels, dresses or other clothes or accessories that may get caught or inhibit your ability to exit the plane if necessary.

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