NC Aviation Law Attorney

Ben Coleman Named Safety Advisor to Sun ‘n Fun’s President

Aviation expert, Ben Coleman, a frequent contributor to this blog, has been named Safety Advisor to the President of       SUN ‘n FUN. In this role, Ben will serve as the resident safety advisor contributing to all phases of SUN ‘n FUN and its Florida Air Museum’s operations. President John R.”Lites” Leenhouts made the announcement last month online at the Sun ‘n Fun website with a great article stating his dedication to safety:

 I am dedicated to advance SUN ‘n FUN’s long-term commitment to safety to the next level, says Lites Leenhouts, SUN ‘n FUN’s new CEO, and the opportunity to work with Ben Coleman to review our entire operation will yield significant benefits to our safety culture. Our commitment to safety is one of the cardinal values in the day-to-day operations of our campus. It is paramount in the operation of our annual International Fly-In & Expo, says Lites.

As stated on it’s website:

SUN ‘n FUN has been promoting aviation since our first fly-in in 1975. What began with a small group of dedicated aviation enthusiasts has grown in the second largest event of its kind in the world. Every April, tens of thousands of aviation enthusiasts travel from around the globe to to enjoy one of the world’s greatest aviation conventions. Held at the SUN ‘n FUN Complex at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL, this six-day event celebrates aviation with more than 4000 airplanes, over 500 commercial exhibitors showcasing the latest products in the industry, and in excess of  450 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest.

SUN ’n FUN’s mission is to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages.

When I spoke to Ben about his new role he referred to what he called “Ben’s” plan:

I am developing an actual comprehensive safety program for all aviators AND helping them develop year round activities that engage the aerospace and aviation industry.  One long weekend will be dedicated to aircraft maintenance, another weekend to ballooning, etc.  My role will be much more than just “safety” for the Fly-In, but will include prevention techniques in our comprehensive safety program.

All things considered, Pres. Leenhouts, you’ve got the right man for the job. Congrats!  We look forward to a safe and exciting SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In & Expo.

Posted by 1:37 pm

Mr. Crouse With Founder Janette Fennell

Earlier we posted an article describing the impressive talk founder Janette Fennell gave at a gathering in Florida.  You might recall that Janette is a powerful advocate for child safety in and around cars, and works diligently with congress and attorneys to see that everything that can be done is being done to prevent tragedies involving children being injured or killed by car “rollovers” and “frontovers,’ as well as leaving children in locked cars.  Please visit her website to learn all you can about how to avoid these senseless accidents.

Here is a picture of me with Janette and with Raleigh North Carolina lawyers Beth Leone Noble and Jennifer Seate.  Beth, Jennifer and I are determined to bring Janette’s message to the entirety of North Carolina—and maybe Janette herself—so look for future announcements on this important safety message.

By the way, we recently learned of Safe Kids North Carolina, the North Carolina Chapter of Safe Kids USA,  which addresses all areas of child safety.  We encourage you to visit all of these web sites and get the word out to your schools, civic organizations, neighbors, churches, and work places—anywhere the word might save a life.


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Posted by 12:31 pm

More Information On Deadly Crash At PTI

Authorities have identified Marcia Salmons Keaton, 50, from Fuquay-Varina as the pilot of the Beechcraft Baron 58 that crashed into a house in High Point, North Carolina, roughly 3 miles from touchdown at Piedmont Triad International Airport, reports WRAL in Raleigh.  The pilot and her passenger, Dr. Thomas Littlejohn III of Winston Salem were killed in the crash. No one on the ground was injured.

It has now been confirmed that the National Weather Service reported heavy fog in the area at the time, with visibility as low as a quarter-mile. The pilot spoke with air traffic controllers (ATC) and was routed to PTI via “radar vectors,” which means she was directed to the bigger airport every step of the way by air traffic controllers.

In the air traffic control recording the pilot of Air Logistics 569 (AirLog 569), after receiving the 100-foot ceiling weather, is heard that it (the weather) wouldn’t help much. After that, the pilot discussed holding—which means waiting for the weather to clear—with the air traffic controller. The air traffic controller told her that everyone was getting into Greensboro—no “go-arounds”—then the pilot of Air Log 569 agreed try an approach. The controller then guided the aircraft to an instrument approach to runway 5 left. AirLog 569 was cleared to 3000 feet, and then was cleared for the ILS Rwy 5L approach 9 miles from Cives, which is 4.7 nm miles from touchdown. AirLog 569 was instructed to maintain 3000 feet until established on the approach.

Fifty seconds after this, the controller contacted the Air Logistics aircraft saying that it had flown through the localizer course, and the pilot responded that the aircraft was coming back to the course. Approximately two minutes later, ATC cleared AirLog 569 to land on Rwy 5L. Just over a minute later, called AirLog 569 to advise it of a low altitude alert and the pilot responded that they were going around. The controller issued go-around instructions.

ATC tried several times after this to contact AirLog 569 but there were no responses.



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Posted by 8:00 am

Legislative Folly in North Carolina

A few comments on portions of the so-called “tort reform” bills now in the North Carolina legislature being pushed by lawmakers who are supported by the insurance industry.

The product liability portion of the current legislation is setting up a constitutional challenge in the aviation area. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 and cases say that the federal regulations as to aircraft are “minimum standards” and do not establish a level or guarantee of safety. Every aircraft design is approved, to various degrees, by the federal authorities. But there are federal cases saying that these approvals, and the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s) themselves, are not determinative of the legal safety of a design (that’s my summary of 40 years of case law—there are exceptions). I have not fully thought this all through, but it seems to me that this provides ample constitutional and preemptive challenges to be in the courts for years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by 8:21 pm

Are Medical Helicopter Safety Concerns Being Addressed?

Medical helicopter crashes make headline news, receiving a lot of attention from the media and from viewers.  Perhaps because we can all feel the depth of the tragedy knowing this helicopter was on a mission of mercy to save lives – yet crew members and patients lose their lives.

According to the NTSB, there were 85 helicopter-EMS (HEMS) accidents from 2003-2009 with 77 fatalities with 2008 being the deadliest year on record.  The question of the safety of helicopter medical evacuations has gotten the attention not only of the general public, but also aviation associations associated with the EMS industry and government agencies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by 8:23 am

Lost Luggage News For Airline Travelers

NEWS TO AIR TRAVELLERS:  Beginning February 28, 2011, the United States government is requiring the airlines to pay a MAXIMUM of $3,000 for lost luggage on domestic flights.  This is an increase of $200 over the amount the Department of Transportation established seven years ago. 

That does not mean, however, that you will get this amount if your bag is lost.  The government will still leave the final determination as to amount to the airlines for lost or damaged luggage.  Further, the procedures for recovery are complicated, time-consuming, and work in favor of the airlines.  Additionally, on many items—the more high-priced items, such as cameras, computers and jewelry, for example—the airlines are especially stingy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by 1:37 pm

Wrongful Death Claim Filed As Result of DJ AM’s Plane Crash

People Magazine reports “DJ AM’s” mother has added a wrongful death claim to the lawsuit her son filed against LearJet prior to his death.

In her lawsuit, Andrea Gross claims the plane crash in September 2008 “ultimately caused Adam Goldstein’s death at a later date.” The co-pilot and three others were killed when their Learjet went down shortly after takeoff in South Carolina. Goldstein and a drummer with the band survived but suffered second and third degree burns.

Goldstein had filed a $20 million lawsuit against Learjet, the pilot’s estate and others prior to his death. Post-Traumatic Stress and survivor’s guilt from the plane crash is cited as the cause of his fatal relapse in August.

The family of the co-pilot has settled their wrongful death lawsuit and will receive $500,000.

With 28 years of experience in aviation law, including handling crashes internationally, Crouse Law Offices will be able to handle your concerns competently and efficiently. The successful career of Crouse Law Offices has gained them the respect of major law firms and large aviation manufacturers. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a helicopter or plane incident, please call us at 919-861-0500 or contact us online for a free review of your case.

Wrongful Death

Posted by 4:14 pm

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