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Improper Fuel, Improperly Installed Cables Lead to Pair of Fatal Small Plane Crashes, Lawsuits

Thursday, April 06, 2017By Richard Alexander

Small planes can be prone to major errors, leading to devastation even when experienced pilots are in command. A pair of Piper planes recently crashed in separate incidents in the Spokane, Washington area. Preventable errors led to each fatal crash.

In the first, a 61-year-old pilot flying from Alberta, Canada to California crashed just after stopping for fuel. It is believed that the crash was caused because the Piper Malibu Mirage propeller plane was improperly refilled with jet fuel.

The pilot's family filed a lawsuit, alleging that the fuel station was not equipped with separate nozzles to distinguish between the types of fuel, leading the engine to malfunction. The family also asserts that the fuel attendant who pumped the fuel should not have even have been hired because he had a history of drug use and would not have been able to pass a required drug test. They also assert that the attendant failed to take a required drug test after the crash.

Another plane crashed in the same area about three months later. The pilot of that aircraft, a Piper PA-46 350P, was a commercial pilot and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

The plane nearly crashed just after takeoff in a post-inspection test flight, but the pilot was able to get it somewhat under control. However, just before landing, only 11 minutes after takeoff, the plane banked hard right and crashed into the Spokane River. Both the pilot and passenger died in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation of the crash, finding that the airplane mechanic improperly installed the aileron cables, which control banking of the aircraft.

The pilot’s family filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the plane and the company that maintained it. The family asserts that the plane was defectively designed because the cables should not have been able to be installed improperly.

These fatal crashes serve as a reminder of how dangerous aircraft can be when they are not taken care of properly. All three of these deaths were entirely preventable with the exercise of proper care.

If you need expert advice after an airplane crash, contact the experienced, compassionate lawyers at Alexander Law Group, LLP. Call us today at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation. We have decades of experience representing those injured in plane crashes and their families, and we’ll put our experience to work for you.

While the results that we have obtained in other cases and our clients' testimonials do not guarantee, promise or predict the outcome of your case, we do promise to do our very best for you in your case.

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