A New Mexico jury has awarded a 72-year-old Port Charlotte man $3.86 million in damages after finding that the pilot of a hot air balloon was reckless and the Balloon Fiesta organization was negligent in a 2009 balloon accident that left the Florida man with debilitating injuries.
The man had been a passenger in the balloon during the 2009 Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico when the tragic aviation accident occurred. The pilot had dropped the balloon to about 15 feet above the ground, well below the fiesta’s 75-foot height requirement. The balloon’s gondola then struck a vendor’s tent on the outskirts of the fiesta field. Read the rest »
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded an investigation into a twin-engine plane that crash landed on Interstate 10 last August and found that the fuel was contaminated with water. The plane took off from the Westside’s Herlong Airport heading to Craig Airport in Jacksonville on August 31. A private pilot and certified flight instructor were onboard when one engine sputtered and lost power, then the other. The flight instructor took over the flight between 1,500 to 2,000 feet above sea level and had to safely maneuver a forced landing on the interstate. When the right tire left the pavement, the airplane veered into some trees and a fence. Fortunately, both men walked away from the plane.
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found no defects with the plane, about two cups of water was drained along with a 1.5 gallon fuel sample. Channel 4 reports no one has any idea how the water got into the fuel. The plane was last flown August 11. Prior to that it had been purchased in June 2010 from the Delaware State Police Department and had not been flown for a year. The pilot picked up the airplane on July 23 after it had received an annual inspection and maintenance and he flew it to West Jacksonville. Before the flight on August 31, the pilot also reportedly inspected the plane pre-flight which included checking fuel in the tanks for water contamination, according to the NTSB. Read the rest »
CBS News wanted to find out how many airlines actually pay fines after they are cited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for safety problems. The story evolved from the failure of a fuselage of a Boeing 737-300 that developed a five-foot hole in the roof during a Southwest Airlines flight on Friday, April 1.
Airlines are regularly fined for violations. Southwest Airlines improperly inspected 46 of its airplanes for metal fatigue, according to the FAA in 2007, and the company received a $10.5 million fine which was reduced on appeal to $7.5 million. Frontier Airline reduced its fine for a violation on weight restrictions in 2002 from $200,000 to $133,000, and Alaska Air, fined $500,000 for defective exit lights, paid only $333,000. Read the rest »
According to a Florida Times-Union story, the parents of a Florida Coastal School of Law student have filed a lawsuit against Continental Airlines for her death last year in a plane crash. Ellyce Kausner, 24, died along with 49 others when a Continental Airlines commuter jet, flown by two tired pilots, crashed over Buffalo, New York. One of the pilots had a year of experience and both complained before the crash that they were tired and inexperienced why trying to fly in an ice storm. Named in the action beside Continental is Colgan Air, the regional carrier, and Pinnacle Airlines.
50 people were killed in the February crash, 49 on the plane and one person on the ground. Kausner was a native of Buffalo and was on her way to visit friends after departing from Newark, New Jersey for the evening flight. The transcript of the last few minutes has been released and the two pilots talk about de-icing, something neither had experience with. Read the rest »
Just in time for the summer travel season comes word that parents are advised to use child restraint systems when traveling with children on a plane. Many times parents allow children to sit on their laps on flights. But in case of turbulence or even a sudden stop on the runway, experienced travelers will tell you that bodies go flying, including adult bodies. Anyone not strapped in is likely to violently hit their head on the ceiling of the cabin or fall on the floor.
In issuing this Safety Alert – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that parents will not be able to hold onto their children during turbulence and survivable aviation accidents. Deaths have occurred in children under the age of two who were not secured in an airline approved seat. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in its official guide, says the safest place for young children in turbulence is in an approved child restraint system, not on an adult’s lap. The NTSB is asking the FAA to make the suggestion a requirement which won’t make some parents happy about having to buy an extra seat for their little one. But then again, when the seat belt sign is lighted, how safe in a child restrained by someone’s arms? Not very. As it stands now, the official policy of the airline industry is that children can ride on their parent’s lap if they weigh less than 40 pounds. Read the rest »
A single-engine plane crash in Winter Haven has killed the pilot but spared his passenger and dog. A 45-year-old male flight instructor of Brooksville crashed shortly after taking off from the Winter Haven Airport. He landed on the side of Highway 92.
When rescuers arrived, they found the man lying on the ground and paramedics were unable to revive him. His passenger, a student, was trapped inside the plane, but rescuers extricated him and took him to Lakeland Regional Medical Center where he is in critical condition. The instructor’s dog, a white terrier named Zulu, survived and was found wandering around the accident site. Read the rest »