Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Association permitted Boeing Co. to resume flights of its new 737 Max on a limited basis after a manufacturing defect was discovered. Boeing has been delayed in beginning deliveries of the jetliner to airlines after a problem was discovered with the new model’s engine. The FAA had certified the engine design back in March and no issues had been detected after 2,000 hours of testing, but it subsequently became clear that the engine used in the new jetliner model had potential quality issues.
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.
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.
A saga stemming from a skydiving plane that crashed nearly seven years ago appears to be at an end. Six people were killed when the plane went down in Missouri in 2006; the families of five of the victims sued the maker of one of the airplane's parts. A jury awarded the group $48 million -- $28 million in punitive damages and $20 million in compensatory damages.