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U.S. Aviation Accidents Law Blog

The first crash for a new Boeing model

As people in New York sat in rush-hour traffic, nearly 200 people were involved in a fatal incident on the other side of the world: the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 as it began its morning flight from Jakarta. The brand-new plane went down off the coast of the Indonesian island of Java, presumedly killing everyone on board.

Early analyses do not indicate any fault in the experience or performance of the Lion Air flight crew. Similarly, the weather over Java does not seem to have been a contributing factor to the failure of flight JT 610.

Acting quickly with wrongful death claims

Unlike murder, which has no time limit in New York, complainants have only a few years after an incident to file wrongful death charges. This discrepancy is due in part to the differing legal consequences -- and burden of proof -- between the criminal and civil convictions. 

For some tragedies, the reduced time period affords ample opportunity for claimants to come to terms with the event and file civil charges. For others, such as plane crashes, the uncertainty of extended investigations and the powerful organizations involved may tempt survivors to wait.

What is air rage and how can it endanger others?

You and other New Yorkers are likely familiar with the term "road rage," as it is common to encounter impatient and angry drivers who purposefully endanger others on the road. A lesser-known term can also pose dangers for people in the air, and it may happen more often than you think.

You may have read recent articles about unruly passengers causing disturbances on their flights and either being kicked off the plane before takeoff or arrested after landing. While these situations make good headlines and seem rare, there may be thousands of such incidents in airplanes each year across the country, points out ABC News. In fact, some authorities from the Association of Flight Attendants and other agencies think the numbers are underreported.

Are helicopter harnesses more deadly than helpful?

As a New York resident or tourist, you may have taken an exciting "doors off" scenic helicopter flight in the past or are contemplating taking one in the future. Before you do so, however, you should be aware that this may be a deadly decision.

As reported by CNN, a Liberty Helicopters charter flight crashed in New York's East River last March, killing all five of its passengers who were on a private photo shoot. They died by drowning when the safety harnesses they were wearing failed to release. It was the deadliest "doors off" crash in history and the third crash for Liberty Helicopters in the last 11 years.

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.

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