Practice Area: Aviation
Outcome: Settlement for the Plaintiff
Description: A business flight from Illinois to West Virginia ended in tragedy when the plane crashed carrying two pilots and three passengers. The flight was originally supposed to use the jet owned by the business, but due to maintenance and pilot issues, a small single engine Piper Saratoga was used instead. The business that owned and operated the Saratoga did not properly prepare for the flight and departed with the Saratoga over its maximum gross weight and without necessary fuel reserves. Upon reaching West Virginia that night, the Saratoga encountered poor weather conditions with low clouds and fog. Rather than proceeding to one of the other nearby airports which were reporting good weather conditions, the Saratoga attempted to execute the instrument approach to land. However, the Saratoga crashed about a half mile west of the airport and killed all on board. Our firm represented the family of one of the passengers aboard the Saratoga, bringing a claim in Federal Court in West Virginia. The complaint alleged that the pilot in command of the aircraft, who was also the CEO of the business, made inadequate preparations for the flight and failed to properly execute the instrument approach.