BHAG Aviation Articles

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Published articles written by aviation attorneys at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman related to aviation disasters

  • Connecting Alaska - Charter Airplane Companies Keep Alaska Thriving
    Alaska is unlike any of the other states of the United States when it comes to connecting its various cities, towns and villages. The sheer vastness of the state makes it difficult to imagine for those who have not travelled there.

  • Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 and the Montreal Convention
    When an international flight is involved in a crash, a multinational treaty known as the Montreal Convention addresses and determines various issues relative to airline obligations and passenger rights and compensation.

  • What is the Sterile Cockpit Rule?
    One might suppose that the Sterile Cockpit Rule might have something to with the physical cleanliness of an aircraft cockpit, but such is not the case. It's about keeping conversation and activities in the cockpit professional and related only to the job at hand during "critical phases of flight."

  • Safety on an Airplane Should Not be Restricted to Those That Can Afford It
    As an economy traveler, there are things about your flying experience that you know will be different from those flying first class -- a smaller seat, less leg room, more lines to use the facilities, and probably the food is not as good.

  • What Went Wrong in the Asiana Flight OZ214 Crash at SFO?
    The Boeing 777 was making its final descent into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) after an over 10-hour flight from Seoul, South Korea when it hit a rock seawall that lines the beginning of the runway at SFO, breaking pieces of the tail section off the plane.

  • After 74 Deaths and 15 Injuries, Will the FAA Follow Australia's Lead and Ground Unsafe Robinson Helicopters?
    As representatives of families of passengers who have been fatally burned in otherwise survivable R44 crashes, we urge the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground all Robinson R44's that have not yet been retrofitted with safer fuel tanks.

  • Will the Sequester Affect U.S. Aviation Safety?
    There has been a lot of talk lately about the forced spending cuts - sometimes called "sequestration" - that have begun to take effect in the federal budget. Over the next decade, sequestration is expected to result in approximately $1.2 trillion worth of cuts across all federal agencies. The automatic reductions began on March 1, 2013.

  • Robinson R44 Helicopter Owners Have Until December 31 to Claim Rebate on Critical Bladder Fuel Tank Retrofit
    After many low impact post-crash fires, the company announced that it was offering a $1,000 incentive to R44 owners who purchase and install their bladder fuel tank kit by December 31, 2012, according to a June 15, 2012 letter issued by Kurt Robinson, the company's president.

  • Positive Trends Despite 2011 Increase in Global Fatal Airline Accidents
    The latest statistics regarding international aviation accidents suggest that global airline operations continue to present many hazards to travellers. Fatal aviation accident statistics from 2011 show an increase in the overall number of plane crashes.

  • Airline Faces More Than $1 Million in Penalties After FAA Investigation
    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed civil penalties of $1,042,500 against Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, Inc., for operating aircraft that did not comply with federal regulations. Specific allegations include allowing flight crews to perform maintenance tasks as well as failure to complete inspections to monitor a crack in a turbine assembly.

  • What Does an FAA Shutdown Mean for US Airline Safety?
    When 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers and 70,000 affiliated contract workers were furloughed in late July, due to a partial shutdown of the FAA, American travellers were left to ponder whether such a drastic workforce reduction has implications for the safety of commercial jet travel. The origin of the layoffs was a political deadlock in the U.S. House and Senate over funding for rural air service in some parts of the country as well as collective bargaining rights for airline employees.

  • Airlines Put Profit Over Passenger Safety in Letter to White House
    The Air Transport Association (ATA) sent a letter to the White House budget office on September 15, 2011claiming that pending regulation designed to fight pilot fatigue would lead to the loss of 27,000 industry jobs and cost $2 billion a year.

  • Recent Air Traffic Controller Lapses Reveal Airline Safety Gaps
    American air travellers were justifiably concerned after media reports recently detailed multiple incidents of fatigue or distraction involving air traffic controllers. U.S. airline accidents occur for a variety of reasons, including pilot error, substandard maintenance and equipment failure.

  • What causes the metal skin on an airliner to tear apart?
    On Friday, April 1, 2011, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 experienced a rapid decompression when the metal fuselage skin tore apart, leaving a 5X1 foot hole. This kind of event is rare, but can, and has been, catastrophic when it does occur.

  • Airline Safety Statistics Suggest Domestic Progress, Global Challenges
    While recent years have presented many challenges for Americans, one news item from last year was welcome: no fatal U.S. airline crashes occurred in 2010. Over the past two decades, the National Transportation Safety Board's statistics for major commercial aircraft accidents involving fatalities show a steady decrease from the early 1990s, despite a 50 percent increase in aircraft hours flown.

  • New Federal Medevac Helicopter Safety Regulations Proposed
    Helicopters provide quick access to remote accident sites, and they can make the difference between life and death for serious injury victims. At the same time, medical evacuation via chopper presents its own set of risks. Over a 17-year period beginning in 1992, air ambulance helicopter crashes caused over 126 deaths, a troubling statistic that peaked in 2008 when 24 people perished in six separate fatal air accidents.

  • NTSB Issues Safety Recommendation Based on 2001 Airline Crash near JFK
    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued a safety recommendation to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regarding the November 2001 crash of an American Airlines Airbus near JFK. The crash of Flight 587, which was flying to the Dominican Republic, took the lives of all 260 passengers and crew, as well as five people in Belle Harbor, a neighborhood in Queens. While all such airline crashes are tragic, this one was particularly devastating, coming just two months after the horror of 9/11 and just a few miles from Ground Zero.
  • American Passengers Have Limited Rights in International Airline Crashes Because of a Treaty Known as the Montreal Convention
    Not every passenger on an airline flight is treated equally, regardless of what fare was paid. This is not about first class vs. coach. We're talking about how passengers or their heirs are treated in the event of an airline crash.
  • Cause of Fatal Livermore Plane Crash Under Investigation
    Flying in rain and fog could have been one of the factors involved in the crash, which will be investigated by the NTSB. According to records, there were no issues with the plane, a Piper Cherokee PA-28, which was built in 1973. Julia Huber, 75, was at the controls when the plane went down.

  • Airplane Maintenance Outsourcing Tests Bounds of Safety
    The problem with outsourcing, particularly to maintenance and repair shops located overseas, is that these shops are difficult to monitor. In addition to the 4,227 domestic repair shops located in the U.S., there are roughly 700 FAA approved foreign repair shops in 70 countries. The FAA is required to inspect and monitor all of these on a regular basis.

  • Regional Air Crash Inspires New Aviation Safety Legislation
    After reviewing tapes and records of the flight, investigators believe that the pilots made critical mistakes in the moments leading up to the crash that violated protocol and contributed to the fatal crash of the Buffalo flight. | The new bill creates high hopes for aviation safety.

  • Pilot's Reaction Among Flight 3407 Crash Causes
    In any event, the actions of the pilot in pulling the nose of the aircraft up to such a degree that an unrecoverable wing stall was inevitable cannot be justified. | Negligence seems to be the primary factor in this crash. | | Also being held accountable is the manufacturer, Bombardier Aerospace Corporation.

  • Extension of NTSB info-sharing policy should enhance aviation safety
    Ongoing efforts to improve airline safety to reduce plane crashes and other accidents that harm or kill passengers must come from all sectors of the industry. Federal regulators, company managers and employees all have exclusive areas of insight that can lead to safer operations.

  • Another Level of Justice: The Public Apology
    One of the more interesting articles we have published this year, addressing something beyond monetary compensation: Contrition. I cannot name a client who has lost a loved one in a crash whose number one priority within litigation is NOT the defendant publicly accepting responsibility.