Airplane and Helicopter Crashes

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Private plane crash cases are complex and challenging.  Private aircraft do not have the “black boxes” which commercial planes do. In addition, regulation and enforcement of maintenance and certification procedures are not nearly as rigorous for private aircraft as for commercial aircraft.

General aviation refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and cargo flights. The majority of air traffic in the United States falls into this category. Most of airports in the United States, around 5,300, serve general aviation exclusively. According to the NTSB, in 2014 over ___ hours were flown by general aviation aircraft. In that same year, 1,474 accidents were reported involving general aviation aircraft.

Helicopter crashes occur at an alarming rate in the United States (40% more frequently than fixed wing aircraft). Although efforts have been made in the past decade to reduce helicopter crashes, private helicopters still kill 130 people per year on average.

The most common causes of airplane and helicopter crashes include the following:

  • Defective Design and/or Materials – Defects in this category can cause metal fatigue, cracking, and/or in-flight failure of critical components
  • In-Flight Instrument or Avionics Failure – Cockpit instruments such as attitude indicators, altimeters and autopilots can fail in flight without warning, with catastrophic results to pilots and passengers
  • Negligent Maintenance and Repair – Maintenance records and log books are kept to record an aircraft’s maintenance history, and are an important part of any post-crash investigation
  • Pilot Error – A pilot’s failure to exercise due diligence can be a principle or partial cause of a crash
  • Air Traffic Control Errors – Failure to follow proper air traffic control rules and procedures can lead to disaster.
  • In-Flight Icing – Icing is a contributing or causal factor in numerous fatal aircraft crashes
  • Fueling Errors – Fuel mismanagement such as starvation, exhaustion, or contamination often results in crashes


We are experienced in handling complex cases and will aggressively pursue your case. It is critical to have legal counsel you can trust to help you navigate this difficult time.

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