Crew Negligence/Human Factors
Aviation Accident Attorneys in California
Alert signals sounded, but were ignored. On March 5, 2000, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 traveled from Las Vegas to Burbank, California. During the landing approach, cockpit warning signals alerted the captain and first officer that flight speed and angle of decent were well outside of the glide path. These warnings were ignored. As a result, the plane overran the runway, crashed through a fence and wall and came to rest in a neighborhood - a near miss from a gas station.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C. represented the victims of the Flight 1455 plane crash in personal injury lawsuits. In fact, we have handled some of the worst air disasters our country has ever faced - from helicopter crashes and hot-air balloon incidents to accidents involving commercial airliners and other aviation disasters. In over 25 years of aviation law experience, we have come to believe that crew and maintenance negligence has become an especially important factor, in causing mass disasters.
In the Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 crash, many instances of crew negligence occurred. For example, the captain heard the initial warning signals, but chose to ignore them. The first officer heard the warning signals, but was intimidated by the captain - the first officer chose to believe the captain was making corrections rather than speaking up. When it was apparent that the plane was out of safe landing guidelines, the captain chose to continue the landing rather than aborting and re-attempting the landing. Had the crew worked together, followed guidelines, and aborted the unsuccessful landing, the crash would have been avoided.
Avoidable Negligence ... Lives that Could be Saved
The captain, first officer and control tower must work together to ensure the safety of the flight and its passengers. Lack of respect, intimidation, pilot/co-pilot arguments and pride can get in the way and create serious problems that jeopardize lives. The following are examples of crew negligence factors that have contributed to some of the nation's worst disasters:
Man-machine interface: We represented victims of an accident caused by a crew member who inadvertently bumped controls, resulting in the plane diving 5000 feet.
Crew coordination: Captains must respect the first officer and acknowledge mistakes or warnings addressed by the first officer (setting aside their own pride). First officers must not be intimidated by the captain and must call attention to problems - if the plane is outside of safe landing speeds, the first officer must address the issue.
Checklists: Checklists are made to be followed. In the Flight 1455 crash, rather than reading the full checklist aloud - as required - the first officer visually acknowledged the checklist items.
At Baum Hedlund, we are committed to thoroughly analyzing aviation accidents and pursuing full liability against those who acted negligently. If you or a loved one has been affected by a crash, please, speak with a caring lawyer at Baum Hedlund.
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