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US Airways Flight 1549 Makes Emergency Landing in Hudson River

Accident Overview

On Thursday January 15, 2008, US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the frigid Hudson River after attempting to take off from Manhattan’s LaGuardia Airport. The plane, bound for Charlotte, N.C., took off at 3:26 p.m. eastern time. Less than a minute later, the pilot reported a “double bird strike” and radioed that he needed to return to LaGuardia. Air traffic controllers initially gave the pilot instructions to return to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, but the pilot replied, “unable.” Teterboro airstrip in the northern New Jersey suburbs was also recommended, but the pilot again responded, “unable.”and that he was going into the river. Witnesses from nearby buildings watched the plane steadily descend into the icy Hudson for a splash landing on it’s belly. The aircraft didn’t bounce and came to a relatively fast stop. After the impact, the plane quickly became submerged up to its windows in the 36-degree water. It is believed that the plane encountered a flock of geese and that some of them may have flown into one or both of the jet’s engines.

 U.S. Airways flight 1549 In Hudson

Passengers and Crew

The plane was carrying 155 passengers, two pilots and three flight attendants. Everyone on-board was evacuated via life rafts and a flotilla of Coast Guard vessels, ferries, water taxis and tourist boats. Dozens of passengers stood on the aircraft’s wings until resuce craft could carry them to safety. There were 78 injuries reported in the crash including hypothermia, bruising and some broken bones.

 Rescue Flotialla

Preliminary Investigation

As of Friday January 16, 2008 National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration inspectors were on scene. Officials said the cause of the crash was under investigation, but initial reports suggested the plane may have hit birds after taking off. Federal investigators said the left engine of the US Airways jetliner was missing. The aircraft, was tethered to a pier on the tip of lower Manhattan on Friday — about four miles from where it touched down. Investigators will begin focusing on recovery of the missing engine and the black box. They also plan on interviewing the crew.

Aircraft Information

The aircraft involved in the accident was a Airbus A320 built in 1999 with registration number N106US.

Airbus A320 N106US.

Operator Information

US Airways operates hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix and is the fifth largest airline in the United States. A member of the Star Alliance, it has a fleet of 353 mainline jet aircraft and 319 regional jet and turbo-prop aircraft connecting 200 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Europe.

Nolan Law Group Files Lawsuit on Behalf of the Parents of a 14-Month-Old Girl Killed in October 15th 2008 Medical Evacuation Helicopter Crash Near Aurora, Illinois

CHICAGO, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — A lawsuit stemming from the catastrophic October 15, 2008 crash of an Air Angels EMS Helicopter near Aurora, Illinois was filed today on behalf of Robert and Brooke Blockinger, who suffered the tragic loss of their 14-month-old daughter Kirstin Reann Blockinger.

Kirstin Reann Blockinger was one of four individuals who was killed when the emergency medical evacuation helicopter bound for Children’s Memorial Hospital hit a radio tower and its supporting structure and crashed in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois.

The EMS helicopter which belonged to Air Angels Inc. was carrying a 3-person crew which included a pilot, a nurse and a paramedic, all of whom were employed by Air Angels Inc. Kirstin Reann Blockinger was being transported to Children’s Memorial for the purpose of receiving treatment for a medical emergency.

The crash of this Medical Services (EMS) Bell 222 Helicopter was the latest in a tragic wave of EMS helicopter accidents last year. The families of the four victims join dozens of others who mourn the loss of loved ones that have been killed in EMS Helicopters in the past months. Despite the long list of recent tragedies, however, there has been no change to the rules governing EMS safety — rules that are known to be flawed and insufficient.

“What makes this accident even worse is that is was preventable,” said aviation attorney Donald J. Nolan. “In February of 2006, the NTSB made safety recommendations which were largely ignored,” Nolan added. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will draw attention to this issue and help bring about industry change.”

Named in the suit are Air Angels Inc., Reach Medical Holdings Inc., and Richard D. Hoffman, as personal representative of the estate of Delbert Lee Waugh.

The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and alleges that Kirstin Reann Blockinger’s untimely death was caused as a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s breach of duty of care.

The lawsuit also asserts that the defendants were responsible for exercising the highest and/or ordinary degree of care in the operation, maintenance, possession and control over the subject helicopter so as not to cause injury and further specifies the following acts or omissions by defendants:

— Negligently and carelessly failed to require and provide two pilots for operation of subject flight

— Negligently and carelessly failed to equip the subject helicopter with a proper and adequate Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TWAS)

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate time and information to the pilot for flight planning

— Negligently and carelessly failed to keep sage and proper separation between the subject helicopter and existing tower hazard

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate flight following measures

— Negligently and carelessly operated, controlled and equipped and maintained the subject helicopter in particulars to be determined through the course of discovery

Robert Blockinger and Brooke Blockinger have been appointed co-special administrators to their daughter’s estate and, as such, are seeking personal and pecuniary damages, including but not limited to, loss of society, love and companionship for the loss of their daughter in a sum in excess of the minimal jurisdictional limits of the Cook County Circuit Court.

In early February of 2009, there will be public hearings regarding the safety of EMS helicopter operations. Nolan Law Group and the Blockingers are planning to attend.

Nolan Law Group is a Chicago-based personal injury law firm concentrating in aviation accidents, construction accidents, brain injury litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and trucking accidents.

Continental Flight 1404 veers off runway

Accident Overview

On Saturday December 20, 2008, 38 people were injured when a Continental Airlines Flight veered off course about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway and caught fire. Continental Flight 1404 was attempting to take off from Denver International Airport for Houston around 6:20 p.m. Firefighters found the Boeing 737 on fire, with its wheels sheared off, resting in a ravine about 200 yards from the runway.

Continental Airlines Flight 1404

Passengers and Crew

105 people on board had to be evacuated via emergency chutes. Thirty-eight people suffered injuries including broken bones, and two were in critical condition with fractures.

Preliminary Investigation

National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration inspectors were on scene on Sunday Decemper 21, 2008. They will analyze everything from the skid marks on the runway to the flight data recorder and could take as much as year or more before issuing a final report. However, an initial advisory from the agency said that strong, gusty wind was blowing about the time Flight 1404 was taking off. So far investigators haven’t found any problems with the Boeing 737-500’s engines, brakes or wheels, but they haven’t ruled anything out.

Continental Flight 1404 Wreckage

Aircraft Information

The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 737-500 with registration number N18611. The aircraft was built in 1994 for Continental and at the time of registration was listed as being capable of carrying 104 passengers. No prior incidents reagarding that aircraft have been reported.

Boeing 737-500 N18611

Operator Information

Continental operates flights to destinations throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions. It has more than 3,000 daily departures, serving 151 domestic and 120 international destinations and has 42,200 employees. Principal operations are from its three hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport (in Newark, New Jersey), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (in Houston, Texas), and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (in Cleveland, Ohio).

Passengers escape burning jet in Denver; 38 hurt

DENVER – Firefighters said it was like something out of a movie – passengers emerging from a smoke-filled ravine where the remains of a Boeing 737 lay in flames, its landing gear and left engine shorn off.

Denver Fire Department Division Chief Patrick Hynes called it “surreal.” The fire burned the entire right side of the plane, and melted plastic from overhead compartments dripped onto the seats below.

Thirty-eight people suffered injuries including broken bones, and two were in critical condition with fractures after the Saturday evening accident, officials said.

Passenger Mike Wilson of Denver described a chaotic scramble to leave the burning plane on updates he posted on Twitter.com from the airport using his cell phone.

“By the time the plane stopped we were burning pretty well and I think I could feel the heat even through the bulkhead and window,” he wrote. “I made for the exit door as quickly as I could, fearing the right wing might explode from the fire. Once out, I scrambled down the wing.”

The 107 passengers and five crew members made it out through slides, and firefighters put out blaze quickly, said airport spokesman Jeff Green.

By P. SOLOMON BANDA, Associated Press Writer

Air Angels Helicopter Crash in Aurora Illinois

Accident Overview

On Thursday October 16, 2008, four people, including a 13-month-old girl, were killed when a medical evacuation helicopter crashed in the Chicago suburb of Aurora Illinois. The helicopter was bound for Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago on its way from Valley West Hospital in Sandwich when it went down minutes before midnight. According to eye whiteness reports the helicopter crashed in a field near a residential area in east Aurora and was engulfed in flames.

Air Angles Wreckage


Passengers and Crew

The helicopter was carrying a 3 person crew which included the pilot, a nurse and a paramedic employed by Air Angles. A 13-month-old girl was also onboard and was being transported to the hospital due to epileptic seizures.


Preliminary Investigation

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene shortly after the crash. Authorities believe that the helicopter may have clipped a radio tower wire before it crashed and burned. Officials are also considering that there may have been problems with the flight before it hit the radio tower because it was flying so low; under normal conditions, the helicopter should not have been flying low enough to hit the tower or its support wires.


Aircraft Information

The helicopter involved in the accident was a Bell 222 rotorcraft with registration number N992AA.

Bell 222 Helicopter N992AA


Operator Information

The helicopter belonged to Air Angels Inc., an emergency medical transport service based at Clow Airport in suburban Bolingbrook. The Aurora crash is the third involving Air Angels helicopters in the past fiver years. In January 2003, an Air Angels helicopter crashed killing the pilot. Investigators determined pilot error and weather caused the accident. Mechanical problems were blamed for an August 2007 crash in which there were no injuries.

Air Angels announced on October 16, 2008 that it was suspending all operations pending investigation of the crash. In cases such as this one it can be beneficial to have a helicopter crash lawyer working the case too.


American Law Firms File Claim Against The FAA And Seek Discovery On Behalf Of Family Of Aeroflot Plane Crash

CHICAGO – American law firms, Nolan Law Group and Ribbeck Law Chartered, today filed a Petition for Discovery in the state court in Chicago arising from the Boeing 737 crash of Aeroflot-Nord Airlines in Perm, Russia on September 14, 2008. The petition was filed on behalf of Aleksey A. Afanasenkov, Sr., whose son perished in the crash, and seeks documentation and information concerning the individuals or companies that may be responsible for causing the crash.

Additionally, the law firms asserted a formal claim on behalf of Mr. Afanasenkov against the United States Federal Aviation Administration for its failure to properly regulate U.S. training institutions which provided training to the crew of the accident airplane. The US-Russian treaty entitled “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Aviation Safety” entered into force on September 2, 1998. Under the treaty, the U.S. government agreed that the FAA would monitor, among other things, aviation training establishments in the United States providing training to Russian pilots in accordance with the standards, rules, practices, general procedures and Implementation Procedures established pursuant to the treaty.

While the investigation of the crash is ongoing and no probable cause determinations have yet been made, the circumstances of the crash have highlighted the dangerous shortcomings in the training of pilots accustomed to Eastern-built aircraft transitioning into operation of Western-built airliners. It futher highlights the need for proper oversight in the FAA airworthiness certification process of transport category airplanes.

It was previously reported by the airline, Aeroflot-Nord, that the captain of the accident airplane received training in the 737-500 at a U.S. based training institution in 2006, and had 452 hours as pilot-in-command of this model airplane. The first officer began flying the 737-500 airplane earlier this year and had only 219 total hours in the model airplane. Both pilots had spent the majority of their careers operating Russian-built aircraft which have some significant technical differences in cockpit instrumentation from Western-built aircraft such as the Boeing 737.

For further information on this news item please contact Thomas J. Ellis, Director of Litigation Support, Nolan Law Group, 20 North Clark Street, 30th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Office: (312) 630-4000; Mobile (312) 493-3349 or e-mail: tje@nolan-law.com

Spanair MD-80 Plane Crash in Madrid Spain

Accident Overview

On August 20, 2008 at 2:45 GMT, Spanair flight number JK5022 crashed while taking off from Madrid’s Barajas Airport. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 registration number EC-HFP was bound for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and using runway 36L. Initial reports indicate that 153 people perished in the crash.

Spanaii Madrid Crash Site

Passengers and Crew

The jet was carrying approximately 172 passengers and 6 crew members bound for Las Palmas during the height of Europe’s summer vacation season. Twenty-two children and infants were listed on the passenger manifest. Nineteen people are reported to have survived the crash. Lufthansa reported that it had issued codeshare tickets to seven people and that four of them were from Germany. Canary Islands official said passengers included Swedes and Dutch. Sweden’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Swedes were onboard the aircraft.

Preliminary Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board will be sending a team of investigators to Madrid, Spain, to assist the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority in the investigation of the accident in which a Spanair MD-80 (Spanish Reg. EC-HFP) crashed on take-off. The U.S. team will also include technical advisors from the FAA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney. NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has designated senior air safety investigator John Lovell as the U.S. Accredited Representative; four other NTSB technical specialists will accompany him.

Aircraft Information

The airplane involved in the accident in Madrid was a 15-year-old McDonnell Douglas MD-82. The MD-80 family was designed by McDonnell Douglas in the 1970s as the successor to its DC-9 line and entered service in 1980. The engines on the plane were manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of U.S. conglomerate United Technologies Corp. Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997, and the last of the MD-80 family rolled off its production line in 1999.

Mcdonnell Douglas MD-82

Operator Information

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was operated Spanair S.A. The Airline is based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and is subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines Systems. It provides a scheduled passenger network within Spain and Europe, with an extension to West Africa. Its main base is Son Sant Joan Airport (PMI), with hubs at Barajas International Airport (MAD), Madrid and El Prat International Airport (BCN), Barcelona.

149 dead in plane crash at Madrid airport

MADRID, Spain (AP) — A Spanish airliner bound for the Canary Islands at the height of the vacation season crashed, burned and broke into pieces Wednesday while trying to take off from Madrid, killing 149 people on board, officials said.

There were only 26 survivors in the mid-afternoon crash, said Spanish Development Minister Magdalena Alvarez, whose department is in charge of civil aviation. It was Spain’s deadliest air disaster in more than 20 years.

A police officer said the bodies were so hot that police could barely touch them and told El Pais newspaper the shattered wreckage bore no resemblance to a plane.

Dozens of ambulances rushed to the site as columns of smoke billowed from the wreckage. The prime minister broke off his vacation in southern Spain and rushed back to Madrid, heading straight for the airport.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” ambulance driver Luis Ferreras, who viewed the crash site, was quoted as saying by El Pais.

Spanair Flight JK5022 — bound for Las Palmas during the height of Europe’s summer vacation season — was just barely airborne when it veered right, crashed and broke into pieces, reports said.

Spanair spokesman Sergio Allard told a news conference the plane was carrying 175 people and the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

El Pais said the plane left an hour late because of technical problems. It eventually managed to get slightly off the ground but crashed near the end of the runway, El Pais said, quoting an employee of the national airport authority AENA.

Helicopters and fire trucks dumped water on the plane, which ended up in a wooded area at the end of the runway at Terminal 4.

A makeshift morgue was set up at the city’s main convention center, officials said.

Mats Jansson, the chief executive of Spanair’s owner, Scandinavian Airlines, said he had no information about the toll or the accident itself.

In Germany, Lufthansa said it issued tickets to seven people who checked in for the flight, and that four of those were from Germany. It was unclear whether they were German citizens.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Swedes were onboard the aircraft. One of them has been located at a hospital while the other is unaccounted for, ministry spokeswoman Gufran al-Nadaf said.

The plane was an MD-82 on a codeshare flight with Lufthansa’s LH255, Spanair said. Departures from Madrid’s airport were suspended for several hours.

McDonnell Douglas was bought out by Boeing in 1997. Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said the company would send at least one person to assist in the investigation of the crash as soon as it receives an invitation from Spanish authorities.

“We stand ready to provide technical assistance,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.

Allard said the plane last passed an inspection in January of this year and no problems with it had been reported since then. The plane is 15 years old and has been owned by Spanair for the past nine, he said.

Last July, 199 people were killed in Brazil when an Airbus A320 belonging to TAM airlines skidded off the runway at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport before crashing into a nearby gas station and an air cargo building.

Five people died and 65 were injured on May 30 when the A320 belonging to Grupo Taca skidded off the end of the runway at Toncontin International Airport near the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

The deadliest disaster in aviation history occurred in Spain in 1977 as a result of a runway collision between two fully loaded Boeing 747s in the Canary Islands. A total of 583 people died.

In November 1983, a Boeing 747 operated by the Colombian airline Avianca crashed near Madrid as it prepared to land, killing 181 people.

In February 1985, an Iberia Boeing 727 crashed near Bilbao in the Basque region, killing 148 people.

By HAROLD HECKLE Associated Press Writer

Northern California Firefighter Helicopter Crash

Accident Overview

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday August 5, 2008 about 35 miles northwest of Redding in the Trinity Alps Wilderness area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter entered a remote area to pick up firefighters battling wildfires. According to the Federal Aviation Administration shortly after lifting off from a clearing the Sikorsky S-61 chopper crashed “under unknown circumstances” and was destroyed by fire. Witnesses of the helicopter accident told investigators the aircraft had lifted off more slowly than normal before it struck a tree and crashed. According to reports the chopper’s nose hit the tree about 40 to 50 feet above ground, its rotor blades struck trees and branches before the aircraft plummeted to the ground. The aircraft came to rest on its left side about 150 yards from its takeoff site and then “quickly filled with very dense, thick black smoke” before catching fire.

Redding Crash Site


Passengers and Crew

The Sikorsky S-61N was transporting 10 firefighters, two pilots and a U.S. Forest Service employee back to base camp. Four of those aboard were rescued and taken to hospitals 9 others are presumed dead. The firefighters had been working at the northern end of a fire burning on more than 27 square miles in the national forest, part of a larger complex of blazes that is mostly contained.

Carson Helicopters Pilot:William Coultas was in critical condition UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento
Grayback Firefighter: Michael Brown, 20, was in fair condition at University of California-Davis Medical Center
Grayback Firefighter: Jonathan Frohreich, 18, was in critical condition at UC-Davis
Grayback Firefighter: Rick Schroeder, 42, was in serious condition at Mercy Medical Center in Redding

Carson Helicopters Pilot: Roark Schwanenberg, 54, of Lostine, OR
U.S. Forest Service Flight Inspector: TBD
Grayback Firefighter: Shawn Blazer, 30 from Medford, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Scott Charleson, 25 from Phoenix, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Matthew Hammer, 23 from Grants Pass, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Edrik Gomez, 19, from Ashland, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Steven Renno, 21, Cave Junction, OR
Grayback Firefighter: Bryan Rich, 29, from Medford, OR
Grayback Firefighter: David Steele, 19, from Ashland, OR


Preliminary Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration dispatched teams to the crash site on Tuesday August 5, 2008. Investigators plan to survey the treetop heights and topographical features of the crash site, take fuel samples, and review the aircraft’s maintenance records. They also plan to analyze the helicopter’s escape windows, seat belts and other factors that would tell them something about the difficulties passengers would have encountered evacuating the aircraft.

The task of identifying the remains of the nine people killed in the crash is also currently underway. Due to the extent of the damage, DNA and dental records will likely have to be used for identification.

Investigators said Friday August 8, 2008 that they had recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage and that the device was bound for an NTSB laboratory in Washington. The NTSB also said that it will be quite some time before they can determine the cause of the accident.

Redding Crash Site


Aircraft Information

The 30-year-old helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61 operating under registration number N612AZ was originally made in Connecticut and the helicopter’s engine, airframe and rotors were upgraded three years ago. The Sikorsky S-61 helicopter is the only wild-land firefighting helicopter in the nation equipped to simultaneously carry both water and crew. It can simultaneously carry up to 18 firefighters and drop up to 1,000 gallons of water via a suspended bucket.

Sikorsky S-61N Rotorcraft


Operator Information

The helicopter was operated by Carson Helicopters, which has offices in Grants Pass, Oregon, and Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

Operating since 1963 Carson Helicopters provides a unique array of services, ranging from airlifting external & internal cargo, carrying personnel, suppressing wildfires, carrying out emergency search & rescues, performing high-rise rooftop installations, pouring concrete, and erecting steel structures and power lines in areas where ground-based cranes cannot access. Carson Helicopters is a F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Agency) Approved Helicopter Repair Station for the overhaul, repair, and remanufacture of all major model helicopters with facilities that include hangars, heliport, paint shops, workshops and office buildings.

Carson Helicopters holds over 20 STCs for improvements and modifications made to the Sikorsky S61 Helicopter and developed the first short S61, removing 50 inches from the airframe which allowed for an increase in heavier lifting capability. In 1976, Carson Helicopters set a world record that remains unbroken today for off loading 602,000 metric tons of concrete in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In 2003, The Carson Composite Main Rotor Blade was certified by the FAA, permitting the Sikorsky S61 to carry an additional 2000 pounds, fly 17 miles per hour faster and travel 70 miles farther on the same fuel load.


Jim Hall, Former NTSB Chairman and Counsel to The Nolan Law Group Issues Statement Regarding Flight Data Recorders

CHICAGO, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Jim Hall, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Counsel to the Nolan Law Group issued the following statement today:

At his press availability in Minnesota Friday morning, NTSB Member Steven Chealander revealed that there was no flight data recorder (FDR) installed on the Hawker 800 that crashed in Owatonna, MN, on Thursday morning.

Fortunately, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) will provide some limited information as to the flight crew’s reactions and actions regarding whatever caused the crash, but an FDR would provide a fraction-of-the-second readout of systems performance. This information would yield critical insight into any mechanical malfunction. Witness reports indicate the aircraft touched down at Degner Owatonna Airport, but that it appeared the landing attempt was aborted for some reason and the airplane was trying to become airborne when it crashed, killing the two pilots and the six passengers.

The NTSB must now try to piece together what happened in those final seconds.

We’ve had this frustration before — a fatal crash and no flight recorder to help document why the airplane stalled and plummeted to the ground. Recall the 2005 crash of a Cessna Citation V jet owned by Circuit City Stores in Pueblo Colorado where all eight people aboard the jet were fatally injured or the 2002 crash of a King Air A100 on approach at Eveleth, MN, that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone and the seven others aboard. Neither plane was equipped with an FDR. We see this time and time again — an accident occurs with air taxis or corporate airplanes, and recorders were not required to be installed, forcing NTSB accident investigators into a search for other data, such as radar tapes from air traffic control, to infer what happened. A supposition, however well educated, is simply not good enough.

As a result of the Wellstone accident, the NTSB recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that if recorders are not going to be ordered installed on air taxis, at the least a video recording of pilots’ actions in the cockpit, in which the field of view would capture essential controls and the instrument panel, should be obtained.

On 7 March 2008, some six years after the Wellstone crash, the FAA ruled that video recorders would not be mandated for installation on air taxis. Needless to say, the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” safety recommendation remains in an “unacceptable” status. In its ruling, the FAA said, “The issue of cockpit video is unsettled.” The unsettled situation averred to by the FAA results in large measure because of its failure to press the issue with industry. Sadly, despite the availability of this invaluable technology, the inaction of the FAA and the business aviation community regarding these safety measures will once again leave the people of Minnesota asking questions.

According to the FAA, the 124-page March rule on recorders “will enable investigators to retrieve more data from accidents and incidents requiring investigation.” Unfortunately, that’s true only for airplanes carrying ten or more passengers. Hundreds of airplanes, including the Hawker and the King Air carrying Sen. Wellstone and party, are not covered. So much for the FAA’s much-publicized ethic of “one level of safety.” The sad fact is that occupants aboard air taxis are not afforded the same protection as passengers aboard a regularly scheduled airline. Make no mistake, recorders are part of the safety equipment, because with the information they contain, we can prevent the next accident.

To reach Mr. Hall for additional comment please contact either Brianne Murphy at 347-524-1415 or Jamie Crooks at 619-507-4182.