Cessna pays $1.6million

hyper

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"CESSNA PAYS $1.6 MILLION IN CARNAHAN CRASH
Cessna Aircraft Company has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle wrongful death
lawsuits in the October 16, 2000, crash of a Cessna 335 in Hillsboro, Missouri,
that took the lives of Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, his son Randy, and campaign
aide Chris Sifford, "The Wichita Eagle" reported. Cessna paid $800,000 to the
Carnahan family, an additional $400,000 in the death of Randy Carnahan, and
$400,000 to the Sifford family. Cessna had no comment on the settlement, but
an official said that the company is pleased that the NTSB report on the
accident is "favorable to Cessna." The report said the pilot, Randy Carnahan,
was disoriented after the airplane's primary attitude indicator failed in poor
weather about 30 miles south of St. Louis. The report, AAB-02-02, can be seen
on the NTSB Web site ( http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/A_Acc1.htm ). Three other
companies, two of them manufacturers of the primary attitude indicator and
vacuum system, remain defendants in the lawsuits. "


God bless those lost and their families, but come on. Now it's Cessna's fault that the pilot couldn't fly partial panel? I guess that would mean that all the other accidents from the past resulting in an accident from gyro loss are candidates for big money lawsuits now, right?
 

cjh

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This litigation has ticked me off from the start. I think all pilots should send Mrs. C an e-mail thanking her for helping to raise the insurance rates for all the pilots who wouldn't have been out in such crappy weather in the first place. Pilot error? Not her son, he was just a poor victim. Makes me wish I lived in Missouri so I could vote against her.
 

Brett Hull

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I've been flying her around on the campaign trail in a baron. She sure isn't scared to get right back in a similarly equipped airplane.

I've been tempted so say something to her about it, but she's just so darn nice to me.
 

cherokee

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Looks like the base price for a new 182 will go up to $399,999. Thanks Senator Carnahan, may you get trounced this fall!!:mad:
 

RJones

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Actually this is a very small number -- $500,000 each person and we don't know their personal net worth. Cessna would easily pay that amount just to litigate it and then could lose and pay three possibly five times that amount. Personally I don't think this will affect any insurance premiums unlike 9/11.

RJ
 

Caveman

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I told my wife when we first got married not to ever under any circumstances sue any aviation companies if I get killed in an airplane. I told her even if the wings just fall off I don't want her suing anyone. I've provided her with financial protection via life insurance and I don't want some scumbag ambulance chasing lawyer ruining a company that is just trying to make an honest living. Flying is my passion and it's my choice. I gladly and knowingly assume all the responsibility for the risks involved. It's not outsider litigation driving up the cost of GA, it's pilots and their families doing all the suing. Tell your families, "NO LAWSUITS!"
 

cjh

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You know, Caveman, I've been thinking the same thing. I don't have the type family that would stoop to such antics in the first place, but I've been thinking I should nevertheless make it clear I'd find a way to haunt them if they did.
 

RJones

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I disagree with Caveman. It's great that you have set yourself up with insurance for your wife, however, it's not your right to make a choice for your wife to sue or not to sue. Have you seen the video of the C130's wings folding up during a firebombing mission, I think you know my point.

Risks: What if a mechanic cut the some wires on your plane just to get a few more hours in on a job -- your willing to take that risk? Some mechanic did such a thing to a freighter 727 I believe in the Northwestern U.S., I as a pilot would be horrified. As I understand it your willing to take that risk and fly away into the wild brown dirt?

The PIC in this case had some 1700 hours which seems to me to be enough, however, from what I can tell mistakes were made, but that's what discovery is about, was it a system or the pilot.

There has to be incentives to take care or there would be zero!

If you have questions about what the NTSB did in the Carnahan investigation, you can find its report at this link:

http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2002/AAB0202.htm

RJ
 
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hyper

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If someone made a mistake with blatent disregard for my safety and the integrity of the airplane, then I would want my family to get every last dime...BUT. They are airplanes and they break, things wear out, and suprises happen. It's the nature of the business and that's why we are so well steeped in emergency procedures. It just common sense to me. This ruling, no matter what the costs or how minimal, sets an example for suits in the future.

The sad part is, I'm willing to bet they even had an HSI since the HI wasn't mentioned as a part of a total failure.
 

RJones

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Ok, a sip from the firehose:

1.) The problem is, you don't know what caused the crash until the NTSB finishes, or even later. On crashes of less importance to the public, the NTSB just does not expend as many resources -- it doesn't have them to spend. You may need the discovery process of litigation to get at the real cause -- you want your own experts to look at the wreckage and so forth. To do that, you have to initiate the suit. If you wait too long, and then find out the cause was someone's blatant or reckless mistake, you might have missed your chance to sue. Also, witnesses die, wander off, documents get lost, etc. It's important to start things rolling -- if the evidence points toward letting defendants off the hook, then you settle, as they did here.

2.) This outcome wasn't a "ruling," it was a settlement -- worked out between the parties. If Cessna went through to trial, it could have spent this much just on its defense, and if it lost at trial, the number would have been a lot larger, considering the folks who died here. If you add up the lost lifetime earnings and other damages on the average professional pilot, it could easily exceed $1.6 million, and here you had a sitting governor who was running for Senate, and two young guys with promising careers. On this airplane, Cessna's best defense would have been GARA -- the 18-year federal statute of repose (liability limit) on older aircraft models. That is probably the leverage that enabled Cessna to get the settlement.

3.) I don't think there was an HSI -- this was an old Cessna 335 and the NTSB says it was an "attitude indicator/flight director." This airplane probably would have had an old Nav-o-matic 400 system in it.

Something all of us should consider, too, is that as pilots we would probably be named as defendants in a case like this -- even if we were dead. You would want your families to have some leverage to get that case settled by filing their own actions as plaintiffs.

RJ
 

Caveman

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RJ,

I understand where you are coming from but I still disagree. We live in a human world inhabited by flawed beings. We all make mistakes. Pilots, mechanics and manufacturers. On rare occasions they aren't mistakes but are in fact malicious acts. It doesn't change my position. I would rather one evil company or one insane mechanic get away with whatever they did than have me and my family contribute to the demise of GA. I recoginze the price and I'm willing to pay it. My wife respects my wishes and has promised to honor my request if ever she finds herself in that position. In truth if any criminal or ethical malfeasance is proved whomever is involved will be dealt with harshly by the authorities. I doubt that anybody will be getting away with anything.

Regards,

Caveman
 

RJones

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Do you guys feel the same way about medical malpractice? Caveman, what if the doc gave your wife the wrong medicine, would you honor her wishes not to sue?

RJ
 

flx757

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According to the NTSB report, there were records of his having flown during the previous 30 and 90 days...as well as in the 72 hours preceeding the accident. Just because these flights weren't recorded in the pilot's personal logbook doesn't make him "illegal".

I make monthly entries into my personal logbook...with a computer software program. Sometimes I do it several months at a time, so there could be a 6-month period of no entries. However, other records exist...i.e. company records, etc. Does this make me illegal to fly???

Don't think so.

The NTSB found the probable cause of this accident to be the pilot's failure to control the aircraft due to spatial disorientation. Contributing factors were the failure of the aircraft's primary attitude indicator and the adverse weather conditions. Nowhere was there any mention of the pilot not being "legal".
 

RJones

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YEAH, somebody can read.

It's all about discovery now.

thanks, flx757

RJ
 

RJones

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Patmack18

Let me try to help you understand what's going on here. When I first read this report I too was saying similar things because the finger points to the pilot. In my career I have had a couple of occasions when the ADI has failed and then it was telling me it was sick while taxiing out, didn't want to erect, flagged, and took a few minutes when it finally did erect. I did have a failure in-flight but the cause was an inverter and that was remedied by switching to the number two. The last time I did cross panel flying was when I was eight years old flying with my father (UAL retired) in his C-180 on floats -- I couldn't see out and he would give me headings and altitudes to fly. So I agree, what the heck is he doing flying from the other panel when he could put a post-it-note or a business card, as you suggest, on the failed instrument and fly it that way -- I would.

Cessna's aim is not to admit guilt here; they simply have a financial situation to look at. It's cheaper to get out of this at 1.6 million than to litigate, prove they are not at fault and exceed that settlement figure litigating. You have to imagine Cessna's insurance company has grins from ear to ear. The key point we have to understand here is that Cessna was the manufacture of this plane and this particular type has had several problems with the vacuum system. A design flaw from the beginning and Cessna knew it. So if we sit and think for a minute -- what if Cessna stuck to their guns and fought, it would not only drive the premiums up and would increase the selling price for new aircraft. So settling, in a rather perverse way, keeps them down.

But understand that the right to sue in situations like this preserves the accident scene so to speak. If you don't sue and we chalk it up to pilot error and then five years from now, or when the statute of limitations run out, it's discovered that a system truly did fail and was causal to the accident, you've just wasted your ability to bring forth the responsible parties. This is a check and balance type situation, it keeps everyone responsible prior to and after the accident.

Ok, I'm letting this one go now.

RJ
 
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Focker

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Give me a break

RJones, just so we're clear.

Because Cessna had a lawsuit filed against them, it should cost them 1.6 Million to settle.

Give me a break!

If it isn't Cessna's fault, here's what it "should" cost them to prove it: $0. Period. Like the judge throwing it out because of the charge is so ridiculous.

I know that's not how it is. Imagine the lawsuits being filed as we speak towards Cessna because the plantiffs will probaby get a settlement. And forget $1.6 million. How about a simple couple hundred thousand, or even a lousy 50,000 x 100 people. It's insane and its B.S., and killing this country.

Filing a lawsuit isn't how you find out who's fault it is.

Oh, and a doctor giving you're wife the medicine that kills her and the attitude indicator failing on and old Cessna---get this---
AIN'T THE SAME! What a poor argument for someone who seems intelligent.
 

RJones

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One break coming up!

"Because Cessna had a lawsuit filed against them, it should cost them 1.6 Million to settle. "

Two ways to get out of a lawsuit filed against you, litigate or settle, which way is cheaper?

"If it isn't Cessna's fault, here's what it "should" cost them to prove it: $0. Period. Like the judge throwing it out because of the charge is so ridiculous. "

I agree, shouldn't cost Cessna a dime, however, since this is such a complex case the Judge isn't likley to through it out -- NTSB findings are not admissible in court -- so it's up to the jury which will hear all that's discovered, and we don't know what that is, which Cessna does.

"Filing a lawsuit isn't how you find out who's fault it is. "

Even though the NTSB points the finger towards the pilot that doesn't mean he's to blame. The NTSB is only a finding of what happened and doesn't spend much on small accidents such as this. When a lawsuit is filed the defendants have to dig much deeper than what the NTSB does in these cases so as to defend themselves which brings out much more information than what you and I will ever see. Cessna, in it's settlement, has for sure put "gag" orders and what findings above and beyond the NTSB's.

"Oh, and a doctor giving you're wife the medicine that kills her and the attitude indicator failing on and old Cessna---get this---
AIN'T THE SAME! What a poor argument for someone who seems intelligent."

Rather weak but I felt it was an analogy that you folks could understand.

How about Firestone tires -- is that a better analogy?

RJ
 

flx757

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Patmack18 said:
This is crap, and I'm sick of people suing everyone about everything. i.e. the woman that bagged 4 mil (or whatever it was) after spilling her coffee on herself from McDonalds and complaining it was too hot.
Thats all I was saying
Pat
Hey Pat,

I thought that was Cosmo Kramer, and he settled for all the free cafe lattes he could drink for a year.:D :D
 

Focker

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I know, I hate it , but I know.

RJones, Of course you got a couple of posts in that did further explain some of the things I was hoping to drag out of you before my typing skills got me on the board. Funny, I know.
Specifically about preserving an accident scene. I had a buddy killed in a crash just after takeoff, it's been a year or 2; NTSB finding: Cause Unknown. Probably always be that way. Those of us flying the same plane, exactly that plane, would have liked to know something. So did his wife and kids.
I knew, ok thought, litigation would help freeze the evidence to be further evaluated. But against who? When I actually heard somebody talking lawsuit, presumably not for the cause but for money, I pretty much adopted caveman and patmack18's stance.
So, the manufacturer. No, old airplane, many years of abuse, shouldn't be them. The company, small, family like, everybody equally devastated by the loss of an employee/friend, to personal to be them. Back to the manufacturer, not personal, deep pockets. I wouldn't do it, it's not right and I know it. I, and more his family, would like an answer, but I wish it didn't have to cost somebody else, likely not at fault, to find one.

Fast forward to Cessna. I know it's cheaper for them to settle. I know fliling a suit against somebody, this case Cessna, preserves the evidence.
I know it, I hate it, but I know it.

Anyway, thanks for your reply. You were, as I thought, very well read on the matter.
 

hyper

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Excellent posts by all. Unfortunately, here's the bottom line:

Things break and go wrong.

Life is lost.

Families grieve.

And lawyers are the only ones to benefit from it all.
 
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