Drones are either wonderful tools or the scourge of the Earth. They save lives in military operations and save money by running site inspections at remote oilfields. But they can also peek in bedroom windows if the real estate agency gets a little careless, and they can fly dangerously close to airliners, as US Airways discovered in March.
A friend of ours in Minneapolis told us a few months ago that she was outside at lunch time and just happened to look up. There was a strange, spidery thing hovering in midair. It was quite large, and she looked at it for what felt like an eternity; she noticed, however, that she was the only one staring at it, and she went back to her office.
In our last post, we wrote about a lawsuit filed recently by a mother whose two children died in a small plane crash. The defendants in the suit are the companies that manufactured or serviced the plane and its components. She is not blaming the crash on pilot error. This crash, she says, was the result of negligent acts that occurred before the pilot took the controls.
Because multiple parties may be liable for a single airplane accident, attorneys who handle these cases for crash victims' families must thoroughly investigate the crash and prove to what extent each of the defendants was negligent.
We are finishing up our discussion of the plane crash that killed four Case Western Reserve University students. The news has been fairly quiet in the past week, following the flurry of stories about text messages and pictures and potential lawsuits.
Most plane accidents occur on takeoff or landing. In the case of the small plane crash we have been talking about -- the crash that killed all four Case Western Reserve University students aboard -- the pilot radioed the tower moments after takeoff that the plane was not gaining altitude. Chances are that the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators will rely in part on what they have learned from all those other accidents to figure out what caused this one.
The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its preliminary report about the Aug. 25, 2014, private plane crash we were discussing in our last post. The pilot and three passengers were all students at Case Western Reserve University; the flight was apparently a short sightseeing excursion. Shortly after takeoff, though, the 20-year-old pilot radioed the control tower that he was having trouble gaining altitude. The plane crashed, and the four occupants died, either on impact or in the fire that followed.
Four men were killed when a private plane crashed in northeastern Ohio earlier this week. The plane, carrying four Case Western Reserve University students, had trouble at takeoff. The pilot notified the control tower that he was having trouble climbing, and he attempted to turn back to the airport. The plane could not maintain altitude.
For nearly a week the world has been riveted by day-to-day developments in the Malaysia Airlines crash in the Ukraine. Both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board are helping with the investigation, alongside investigators from a number of other countries. According to USA Today, the NTSB is contributing its expertise to understanding the information on both black boxes.
Most of the time on our U.S. aviation accidents blog, when we write about accidents involving small aircraft, it is in relation to planes that crash into the ground or, less likely, into each other. But what is almost unheard of is a small plane accident involving an aircraft and a person on the ground. However, that's what happened recently at a tiny airport in North Carolina.