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U.S. Aviation Accidents Law Blog

Who decides if PEDs can be used during a flight?

If you are an experienced air traveler, then you know to expect the customary notice against the use of portable electronic devices every time you board a plane in Manhattan. Ask people why this notice is given, and you may hear answers ranging from it is simply to protect airlines from property damage claims to PEDs can cause a plane's electrical system to fail. In reality, the reason the use of PEDs during a flight is discouraged is that there is concern that they may interfere with an aircraft's navigation or communication systems. 

Up until recently, the Code of Federal Regulations only allowed the following PEDs to be used during a flight: 

  • Voice recorders 
  • Hearing aids
  • Electric shavers 
  • Pacemakers

When could you sue an aviation manufacturer?

Many New York pilots do not have the funds or insurance necessary to cover a significant loss. The same is true even of some small transportation or tourism companies. If you were injured, or if you experienced the loss of a loved one, the other party's financial shortcoming could be ruinous to your quality of life going forward from the incident. 

However, it is not always fair to place all of the blame on a pilot. You might want to consider the aircraft manufacturer's responsibility in the event that caused your loss. Defective products might cause crashes, contribute to injuries or even lead to death. The companies that make these products could be liable for part of your damages. 

How do you register your aircraft in New York?

Whether you are using it for business or for pleasure, owning an aircraft can be extremely rewarding. It is imperative, however, that you register your aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration to avoid any registration violations. In order to be eligible to register your aircraft, the plane may not be currently registered in any other country. The owner of the aircraft must also be a citizen of the United States or a citizen of another country that is legally admitted to live permanently in the U.S. 

Once you have determined if you are eligible to register, you must submit certain documents to the Aircraft Registration Branch, including: evidence that you are the owner of the aircraft, registration fee and the aircraft registration application. If the registrant is a company or corporation, evidence that the organization exists, as well as a list of managers must also be submitted. You can check to see if the department received your application by using the Document Index search on the aircraft inquiry page.

Engine failure incident at least the 4th of its kind since 2016

When you board a plane in New York or another part of the nation, you probably feel confident that the aircraft has undergone careful checks for safety, and that there are not defective aircraft components that could potentially threaten your life. Regrettably, however, this is not always the case, as evidenced by a string of dangerous incidents involving jet engine failures that released debris into the plane or air. At Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, we work to hold airlines accountable when defective aircraft components threaten lives, and we have helped many clients hurt in related incidents pursue appropriate recourse.

Per Bloomberg, the latest in a series of related events involving engine failures that allow debris to escape grounded a plane bound for Orlando, Florida, after the engine of the aircraft failed at more than 18,000 feet. This was the fourth reported incident of its kind since August of 2016, with one well-documented incident involving a woman who was partially sucked out of a plane window after an engine failure caused the window to break.

Mechanical failure and commercial flights

When people board a commercial flight, they assume that they plane is mechanically sound and ready for flight. Mechanical plane failure, however, is one of the main factors leading to deadly plane accidents in the United States and throughout the world alongside weather and human error. Failure to operate or improper design of critical airplane parts, such as the fuel tanks, navigation system, landing gear, spoilers, rudder, stabilizers, wing components and engine controls, can be catastrophic. Boeing released a study reporting that approximately 20 percent of all commercial air accidents are attributed to mechanical failure.

Airline companies are responsible for ensuring proper maintenance on airplanes before they are released to carry passengers on flights. While some minor repairs may be performed locally, some companies opt to take other major maintenance work out of the county to decrease expenses. Although the Federal Aviation Administration is required to visit these overseas maintenance facilities and perform regular inspections, a lack of funds and manpower may limit the number of facilities visited by the administration.

Plane crashes in Mexico after severe-weather takeoff

When residents of New York board planes bound for national or international destinations, they typically rely on the plane's pilot and crew to determine whether conditions are appropriate for flying. When pilots second-guess their decisions to fly once the aircraft has already taken off, however, getting back on the ground is not always so easy, and the passengers and crew aboard a recent flight leaving Durango, Mexico, learned this the hard way.

Per the New York Times, 103 people were aboard the jetliner that crashed shortly after taking off from a Mexican airport, among them 99 passengers and four members of the flight crew. While, miraculously, no one lost their lives, at least 80 people who were aboard the aircraft sought medical treatment in the crash's aftermath, including the flight captain, who was in critical condition.

A look at automatic pilots

In this day and age of advanced technology, automated pilot technology is on the brink of taking over the aviation industry. It isn't uncommon for pilots to switch over to autopilot for a period of time while the plane cruises at a steady altitude during a flight. Now experts are considering removing the human pilot from the picture and using autopilot to fly the plane. Although planes that are piloted using artificial intelligence may eliminate human error, it may also increase the need for litigating cases that involve failed software design, development, manufacture, implementation and utilization.

Airplanes have been piloted by robots and automatic software as far back as 1917. Since then, the development of software and autopilot technology has increased and discussion of developing a mainstream, pilotless commercial aircraft has taken place. In order to accomplish this, however, engineers must look at all factors in the flying process, including airplane design, technology, meteorology and human factors required to fly the plane. Artificial intelligence would allow the plane to take off without the use of vehicles, control altitude and engine performance, as well as land using an algorithm that adjusts to wind, rain and other weather conditions.

What causes small planes to crash?

Small plane crashes frequently make headlines across New York, and if you have ever been a passenger in one, you may have had your reservations before taking to the skies. The majority of modern plane crashes involve small, private aircraft, as opposed to larger commercial planes, and when small planes crash, the repercussions are often catastrophic.

According to the Washington Post, riding in a small, private plane poses more substantial risks than travelling in a large commercial aircraft, and there are several reasons this is the case. Part of the risk comes from the fact that many smaller planes take off and land at small airports, many of which may not have paved runways and other features designed to enhance passenger and pilot safety. Part of the increased risk also likely stems from the fact that many of the people who pilot small, private planes are hobbyists and amateur pilots, rather than professional ones, meaning pilots manning these aircraft have less experience and are therefore less likely to know what to do in an emergency.

Laptops in cargo areas pose fire risk for plane passengers

If you are among the many New Yorkers who regularly fly with a laptop computer, know that it can pose a serious safety risk if you store it in your checked luggage, as opposed to taking in onboard as a carry-on. Alarming new research suggests that laptops stored in carry-on luggage can ignite, if stored near aerosol cans or certain types of cosmetics. At Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, we understand that this and other airplane safety risks pose serious, substantial threats to passengers, and we have helped many clients who suffered injury due to airplane-related accidents pursue appropriate recourse.

Per the New York Post, the new research about the fire risks laptop batteries pose contradicts a previous prevailing belief that the flame-retardant gas stored in airline cargo areas would be than enough to eliminate a fire caused by a lithium battery. While common in laptops, lithium batteries are also present in many gaming devices, cellphones and the like.

Crash investigation finds aircraft product defects

Although their role may seem far removed from New York's air traffic controls, flight patterns and the day-to-day of planes in mid-air, manufacturers of the parts that make up those planes carry a heavy responsibility. The safety of pilots and passengers alike fall into their hands.

Whether you board a flight for a destination an hour from your home or 20 hours to the other side of the planet, you want to know those producers take their responsibility seriously, creating aircraft free from product defects. Disasters result when mistakes occur.

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