Aviation Law Monitor

Insight and Commentary on aviation accidents and the law

Latest from Aviation Law Monitor

Families of both Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 have sued Boeing in Cook County, Illinois. To win, the families need prove only that a defect in the design of the Boeing 737 Max contributed to the crashes.  But first they have to convince the judges that their cases should be heard in this country and not in either Indonesia or Ethiopia, where the crashes occurred. Of course, if the Cook County…
Normally, the FAA cannot be sued for doing a bad job certifying an aircraft as safe. But in the case of the 737 Max, things might be different. As a general rule, the FAA cannot be sued as long as, in certifying the aircraft as safe, it was exercising its “discretion.” The United States Supreme Court discussed the “discretionary function defense” in a case called United States v. Varig Airlines. In that…
Both the Department of Justice and Transportation Department’s inspector general are investigating the FAA’s approval of the Boeing 737 Max and, in particular, the aircraft’s anti-stall system known as MCAS. The FAA is supposed to ensure that Boeing aircraft are safe. Investigators want to know: Are the FAA and Boeing too cozy? Is the FAA’s oversight is too lax? Is it true that the FAA didn’t actually certify the Max’s anti-stall system as safe but…
The Boeing 737 The Boeing 737 was originally intended for short haul flights to short runways.  One of the 737’s unique design features was that the engines were mounted on the underside of the wing, instead of in front of the wings on struts and pylons. Mounting the engines hard up against the wing decreased drag, reduced weight, improved the aircraft’s center of gravity, made the cabin quieter, increased usable cabin space, and made the…
EgyptAir Flight 990 departed JFK for Cairo. After reaching cruise altitude near Nantucket, it suddenly pitched down and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. There was no apparent reason for the crash. The NTSB ultimately concluded that the cause of the crash was the co-pilot’s “intentional actions.” Specifically, the pilot suddenly pushed the yoke forward and held it there, killing all 217 aboard. The Egyptian government disagreed with the NTSB’s conclusion, instead blaming the crash on…
Monica Kelly’s lawyer writes to say that a entry contained false and defamatory matter about his client.  He encloses a 2016 report of the Review Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recommending that, contrary to the Hearing Board’s conclusion that Kelly filed a frivolous pleading and recommending that she be suspended for 60 days, Kelly’s pleading in fact did not violate ethical rules and that she should not be suspended as a…
Aerobatic hall of fame pilot Eddie Andreini was flying a routine at the Travis Air Force Base. He was attempting a stunt known as an inverted ribbon cut. Something went wrong. Eddie’s Stearman slid upside down along the runway, coming to a stop at show center. His Stearman caught fire. Eddie couldn’t get out. The crowd watched, prayed, and waited for fire trucks to arrive. Some bystanders wanted to rush to the plane to help,…
ICON Aircraft hired away from Ford Motor Company a superstar PhD to lead its engineering department.  When Cagri Sever showed up at ICON’s facility in Vacaville, the first thing ICON did was send him off on a “demonstration” flight with the company’s chief pilot, Jon Karkow. Karkow flew to Lake Berryessa, a virtual stone’s throw from the ICON factory.  Once there, Karkow couldn’t resist the urge to engage is some low level maneuvering over the water. …