Engine Failure Caused by Defective Overhaul 15 Years Before Crash; Suit Against Aviation Repair Facility by Surviving Family Members Results in Settlement

We represented the surviving wife of a 46-year old pilot who was killed in an airplane crash. The fateful flight originated from Bullhead City Airport at approximately 3 p.m. The airplane, an Aero Commander 112, was bound for Phoenix with three people aboard.

About nine miles south of the departure airport the plane lost power and crashed in desert terrain in Mohave Valley, Arizona. All three occupants of the aircraft were killed. A subsequent teardown of the engine revealed that the number four connecting rod had failed due to lack of sufficient lubrication. The aircraft logbooks showed that the engine had last been overhauled by an aviation shop in San Antonio, Texas some 15 years before the crash. The investigation revealed that defective rewelding of the crank case during the overhaul had prevented pressurized oil from reaching the number four connection rod which, in turn, eventually led to the catastrophic mechanical failure.

Our client filed suit in Texas against the repair facility. The wrongful death action included the other surviving family members (two adult children and a mother), and was joined by the representatives of the other crash victims. The parties agreed to participate in a mediation conference, after which a $1.485 Million settlement was reached.

Our client received $475,000 from the settlement, which was subsequently allocated among the family members by agreement. In a separate action filed by our client in Arizona against the owner of the plane, another $50,000 was recovered on behalf of the survivors.

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