An Oregon jury has awarded William Coultas, his wife and the widow of pilot Roark Schwanenberg $69.7 million in a damages suit brought in the 2008 “Iron 44” crash of a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N. The verdict puts General Electric alone on the hook; other parties settled out of court before the trial. The helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from a helispot while conducting firefighting operations in Northern California. Schwanenberg and eight others aboard the helicopter died.
A licensed aircraft maintenance engineer has received a 10-year prison sentence from an Athens, Greece, court for allegedly not resetting a cockpit switch following maintenance on a Helios Airways Boeing 737-300. The aircraft subsequently collided with a mountain near Athens in 2005 after the airplane’s oxygen supply failed and the pilots and most of the passengers fell unconscious. “
Since business aviation operators are increasingly turning to independent contractors to contain costs and do more while conserving resources, NBAA has published a guide aimed at helping flight operators to properly classify these workers as either employees or independent contractors. “If a worker is classified incorrectly, there are significant tax, liability and legal risks for the employer,” NBAA said.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported last week that Harrington Bishop, a former FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, was sentenced on April 18 in U.S. District Court, for accepting illegal gratuities.
Former JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon, who’s still sitting in a Texas jail, has decided to plead not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of interfering with other flight crewmembers, according to a court motion filed by his attorney last week. Osbon’s first officer locked him out of the cockpit of his Airbus A320 on March 27, after the captain’s actions had caused the first officer to fear for the safety of the flight.
After almost a decade of controversy, four years since the first complaint was filed and several postponements of the actual trial, the Bobigny Criminal Court (a French court near Paris Le Bourget Airport) decided on Tuesday to acquit NetJets Management Ltd and NetJets Transportes Aéreos (two companies trading as NetJets Europe) in a case where they were accused of employment practices contrary to French law. All civil plaintiffs’ claims were rejected.
A former Cessna employee has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for selling stolen aircraft parts on eBay and was also ordered to pay $130,000 restitution. Diego Alejandro Paz-Teran (35) of Wichita pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. In his plea, Paz-Teran admitted he stole aircraft parts from Cessna and sold them on eBay.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), charging the agency with failure to respond to its 2006 petition requesting the regulation of lead emissions from GA aircraft under the Clean Air Act. In the petition, the group asked the EPA to rule that emissions from aircraft that burn leaded fuel may pose a threat to public health. According to the group, nearly six years later, there has been no final action from the agency.
The families of the two Colombian men killed in the July 2011 crash of a Robinson R66 have hired Los Angeles law firm Baum Hedlund to represent them. Last month the law firm issued a press release featuring photos of the dead men with their families and blasting Robinson for placing “profit over passenger safety.” Baum Hedlund has faced off with Robinson in five previous crashes of R22s and R44s.
Despite rising jubilation among the GPS community in the middle of last month that LightSquared had at last met its comeuppance, the would-be nationwide wireless broadband provider was not dead yet as this issue went to press. With its technical arguments virtually exhausted, LightSquared entered into a “Pleading Cycle” at the FCC on January 27, using what is likely its only lifeline.