Each year, thousands of people from around the world flock to the Phoenix metro area to learn how to fly. Because of the Valley’s excellent weather and wide availability of airports, flight training is a big business, from large flight schools and universities to small private operations. Unfortunately, because of the high density of flight training occurring from Tucson to Prescott, this also means that aircraft incidents and accidents are a fairly common occurrence.
Flight Training: Who is in Control?
Much like when you learned to drive a car, a beginning is given a learner’s permit of sorts known as a student pilot certificate. While this certificate does entitle the holder to be at the controls of an aircraft, just like a learner’s permit, it also requires that a certified pilot be present.
During flight training, it is not enough simply to have any licensed pilot accompany a student. The instructor pilot must be a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), a rating that requires many flight hours and highly refined piloting skills. Like driving, the licensed operator is responsible for any incidents that occur during the student’s operation; if an accident occurs, it would be on the CFI’s record.
It Takes a Village: Jake’s Mesa Plane Crash
There are many stakeholders that may play a part in a Phoenix aircraft incident. Let’s take a hypothetical flight student, Jake. Jake is pursuing his private pilot’s license at a small flight school in Mesa. Jake and his instructor Scott have spent about 15 hours flying together, and Jake is preparing for his first solo flight next week.
Prior to their flight, Jake and Scott do a preflight check on the aircraft that they will be flying. At this point, Jake has progressed to doing the check without Scott’s help, but Scott must supervise the process. The plane seems fine, and they taxi out to the runway and prepare to take off.
As the plane ascends, though, the engine begins to sputter and quits. Scott takes control of the plane, but cannot restart the engine in time. He is able to land it in a field relatively gently, but both he and Jake suffer a few minor bone breaks, and the plane is significantly damaged.
Jake’s family would like to receive compensation for his injuries, but first, the cause of the crash must be determined, which requires a lot of investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Was Jake’s input on the flight controls incorrect? Did he forget to check the plane’s fuel or oil for contamination during the preflight check? If so, Scott may held accountable. If the problem was purely mechanical, the aircraft’s maintenance technicians could be at fault. If the plane was not insured and kept in good operating condition, the owner could be found liable.
Hire an Experienced Phoenix Aviation Accident Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Even in a simple case like Jake’s hypothetical accident, there are several stakeholders involved when it comes to flight training accidents in Phoenix. Choosing an attorney with a solid background in aviation will help you ensure that you will receive the best representation for you and your loved ones. Phoenix aviation attorney Michael Pearson of Curry, Pearson & Wooten has successfully represented aviation accident victims for decades, as well as worked with the Federal Aviation Administration for over 26 years. If you are seeking justice for damages sustained in an Arizona flight training accident, contact him today at 602-258-1000 for a free consultation.