Piper Crash Paralyzes Passenger and Pilot, Teledyne Blamed

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events
Teledyne plane 2.JPGThe assembly line of Teledyne Continental Motors is shown in this file photo. The company is on trial in a civil suit accusing it of making a part that caused a 2006 airplane crash.View full size

MOBILE, Alabama — Attorneys on both sides of a federal lawsuit sparred here Monday over what was responsible for an airplane crash nearly 5 years ago that left 2 men partially paralyzed.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, William Garmer, put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mobile’s Teledyne Continental Motors, which manufactured a part of the Piper Cherokee’s engine. Defense lawyer Norman Waldrop countered that the Teledyne part played no role in the crash, and he suggested that the pilot’s own conduct may have contributed to the accident.

A jury in U.S. District Court will make the final decision after hearing evidence expected to take days or weeks to present.

What is not in dispute is this: The plane took off Nov. 21, 2006, from Mayfield, Ky., but crashed in the central part of the state before it could reach Frankfurt, Ky. Larry Crouch, a construction contractor who was flying the plane, was on his way to a business meeting. His banker, Teddy Hudson, was a passenger on the plane.

Both men suffered debilitating injuries and “are now not what they were,” Garmer said in his opening statement. The plaintiffs watched Monday’s proceedings from wheelchairs.

“Neither one of them can do the business that they did. They tried,” Garmer said. “They have lost, clearly, their ability to earn money.”

The lawsuit also seeks damages on behalf of both men’s wives.

“You’ll be asked to consider what they have suffered,” Garmer said.

Waldrop said Continental Motors has been making engines for more than 100 years, and has been doing so at Mobile’s Brookley Field since the 1960s. He predicted jurors would come to realize the company makes good products.

Waldrop said the Piper that Crouch was flying was 28 years old and had a 28-year-old Lycoming engine.

“We didn’t have anything to do with the manufacture, certification or design of that engine,” he said.

The plaintiffs claim that a single-shaft dual magneto, which provides the electrical current to the ignition system, fell off the plane and caused it to lose power. Waldrop, though, said the evidence indicates that Crouch cut off power to the engine in response to a fire that was unrelated to the Teledyne part.

“He turned the engine off,” Waldrop said. “The magneto had nothing to do with this case — nothing.”

Waldrop said the magneto fell off the plane only when it struck trees on its way down. He said that before that, an engine mount fractured, which caused the engine to tilt and put the exhaust riser in contact with the cabin. That is what caused the fire, he said.

Waldrop also faulted Crouch’s actions. He said the pilot asked the air traffic controller for permission to descend from 7,000 feet to 5,000. Normally, Waldrop said, the pilot takes the plane down immediately. He said in this case, however, Crouch hesitated for 30 seconds and then 50 seconds.

“That’s abnormal,” he said.

Waldrop suggested that Crouch should not have tried to make it to a nearby airport.

“He had a number of fields that he could have landed in, should have landed in,” he said.

Finally, Waldrop accused Crouch of changing his account of the crash several times and promised to expose “multiple conflicts in his sworn testimony.”

Post Crash Fire, Czech Aircraft Works SPOL SRO Sportcruiser

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


       This spring an airplane crashed in Arlington Washington.  What is notable about this particular plane crash was the post crash fire. According to the NTSB report, the aircraft fell from a distance of approximately 100 feet and one minute after impact burst into flames.

        Crashworthiness attorneys ask several questions after an incident such as this. (1) What caused the fire? (2) Was the crash survivable? (3) Should improvements have been made to the stucture which would have increased occupant survivability? All of these questions are worth examining in order to ensure the safety of future occupants of the Czech Aircraft Works Sportcruiser.

        The NTSB preliminary report is below:


NTSB Identification: WPR11LA223
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Arlington, WA
Aircraft: Czech Aircraft Works SPOL SRO Sportcruiser, registration: N282SC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On May 14, 2011, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Czech Aircraft Works SPOL SRO Sportcruiser, N282SC, collided with terrain after takeoff from Arlington Municipal Field, Arlington, Washington. The private pilot/owner was operating the airplane as a local personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the airframe and wings from impact forces and a post crash fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses reported that the airplane went to an extremely nose high attitude after liftoff. They estimated that the airplane never climbed to more than 100 feet above ground level (agl). The airplane maintained the nose high attitude as it began to turn back toward the runway. The airplane entered a steep angle of bank to the left, which was followed by a near vertical nose low attitude. The airplane collided with the ground on airport property. It burst into flames about 1 minute after the ground contact.

Southwest pilot reacted quickly to hole in roof

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events
The Associated Press
updated 7/6/2011 3:42:48 PM ET 2011-07-06T19:42:48

A Southwest Airlines pilot didn’t wait around for approval from air traffic controllers before beginning an emergency dive after a hole ripped open in the plane’s roof.

“We’ve lost the cabin,” the pilot told controllers after the April 1 emergency. “We’re starting down.”

The pilot asked the controllers for permission to drop to 10,000 feet after the hole caused rapid decompression in the passenger cabin of the Boeing 737 as it cruised high over Arizona.

One of the controllers on the dramatic audio recordings released Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration can be heard relaying the pilot’s request to descend to another controller.

When the second controller hesitated, the first replied, “He’s doing it anyway.”

The pilot guided the plane to a safe landing at a military base in Yuma, Ariz. There were no major injuries.

The air traffic control recordings provide a new look at the tense early minutes after the roof ripped open on the Southwest jet shortly after takeoff from Phoenix.

The pilot quickly declared an emergency and put his jetliner in a descent when its fuselage ruptured at more than 34,000 feet. Controllers scrambled to make sure there were no other planes in the Southwest jet’s path as the pilot made the harrowing, four-minute descent.

The pilot began turning back toward Phoenix. Then a controller noted that the plane was 50 miles from Yuma.

“We’ll take Yuma,” the pilot responded quickly.

“OK, change of plans,” another controller said. “Southwest (Flight) 812’s going to Yuma now; he couldn’t make Phoenix.”

Full story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43659278/