A new exposé has revealed that general aviation accidents may not be as cut and dry as we once thought.
Over the last 50 years, NTSB investigations for light, general aviation aircraft accidents will typically point to pilot error as the cause of the crash, leading most people to believe that pilot error is to blame 86% of the time.
After careful exploration of many general aviation accidents, however, USA Today’s Thomas Frank has discovered a disturbing trend—the National Transportation Safety Board has been overlooking critical information behind many of these accidents, including the fact that manufacturing safety defects may have been behind many aviation-related deaths. Manufacturers have been quietly paying millions in settlements to survivors and families of victims, and several major aircraft manufacturers like Cessna and Robinson have been found directly liable for fatal crashes for their failure to recall parts known to be problematic.
A 2009 crash that claimed three lives involving a Piper Cherokee in Iowa was initially found to be caused by pilot error, but was later discovered to have been caused by a faulty carburetor. Lycoming and Precision Airmotive, the carburetor’s maker, aided in the NTSB’s investigation which blamed pilot Andy Bryan for his failure to abort the takeoff or maintain his airspeed during his climb. A judge later rejected the companies’ request to throw out a suit brought on behalf of those killed in the crash, and both manufacturers paid the filers a $19 million settlement.
The Phoenix aviation accident lawyers of Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC extend their condolences to those who have lost loved ones in aviation accidents, and urge aircraft owners to stay informed and up-to-date with Airworthiness Directives for their particular make and model.