The pilot and his wife were seriously injured when the single-engine aircraft they were in crashed on takeoff from Capitol Airport in Brookfield, Wisconsin on January 4, 2017. Remarkably, their baby, who was in an infant seat, survived unscathed. The aircraft ran off the runway and crashed into a parked SUV with a trailer attached. No one was in the SUV.
A single-engine Cessna 210 was reported missing on January 2, 2017 en route between Scottsdale, Arizona and Telluride, Colorado. The next day, searchers found debris of the plane north of the town of Payton in rugged country called the Mogollon Rim. Along with the debris, the search party found the bodies of the aircraft’s occupants, a prominent lawyer, his wife, and two daughters from a previous marriage. The four had been on a trip they always take around the holidays.
On January 3, 2017, a twin-engine aircraft went down between two railroad tracks and the Clark Ford River in the town of Paradise in Sanders County, Montana. The two occupants of the plane, a pilot and a passenger, were able to walk away from the crash but were taken to a local hospital for undisclosed injuries. The cabin and the wings of the plane were intact, but the aircraft is reported to be a total loss.
January 3, 2017, a small plane went down near Spruce Creek, Florida. The pilot, the chief executive officer of a technology company, and a female companion were killed in the crash. The two had been taking a 21 day trip around the world in what was described as an “experimental plane,” an Epic LT single engine craft. One witness reported that the aircraft entered a fog and then emerged in an “inverted flat spin,” meaning that it went into the ground like a falling leaf. The crash happened after the plane had turned around having missed its first approach.
A small plane took off from a suburban Kansas City airport and, after the 79 year-old pilot had reported trouble with the aircraft, crash-landed in a nearby parking lot. The pilot survived the accident and was taken to the hospital with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries or damage on the ground were reported. The exact cause of the accident is under investigation.
Most owners of small private planes buy insurance for the same reason that operators of automobiles acquire coverage. They realize that accidents happen and they do not want to be bankrupt if they are involved in a crash, especially if they are at fault.
We began looking in our last post at what options there may be for victims of military aviation accidents, whether for military personnel or their surviving family members. As we noted, although the federal government is generally immune from tort liability, there are certain exceptions.
On December 29, 2016, a Cessna Citation 525 went down into Lake Erie shortly after it departed from Burke Lakefront Airport near Cleveland, Ohio. Six people were on board, including the pilot, his wife, two of their sons and two close friends. The pilot was the president and chief executive of a beverage distribution company.
In our previous post, we began discussing the problems faced by the Marine Corp and the Navy with respect to certain helicopter units. Commentators have pointed out that the problem is related not only to material problems with the units, but also with maintenance culture in the military branches.
During New Year’s Eve, shortly after taking off from an airport 35 miles from Dallas, Texas, two private aircraft collided in mid-air. The planes were flying under VFR or visual flight rules, meaning that they were not in contact with air traffic control. They had just taken off from Aero Airport near McKinney, Texas. One plane crashed into a road and the other in a nearby self-storage unit. Three people were killed, including a former Air Force pilot and his son, who was on holiday break from the Air Force Academy. As of this writing, the other fatality has not been identified. No one was hurt on the ground, but there may be some damage to some of the units at the self-storage site.