Wing Separating from Plane Results in General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Alfieri v. Crash of Swearingen SA-266T-Merlin IIIB

On May 31, 2005, a Swearingen SA-226T aircraft, N22DW, crashed on landing at the Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey. The pilot was seriously injured in a fire that ensued. He was the only person onboard the personal flight. According to the pilot, as he took off from the Nantucket airport, the aircraft made a sudden turn to the right. He was able to apply the brakes and reposition the plane on the runway. He performed a quick engine check and noted no abnormalities, so he continued to takeoff. He didn’t notice any other problems until the landing at Teterboro. At that point, when he reduced power to 20 percent, the left engine accelerated to 60 percent. He turned off the engines, but the left engine did not respond. He advised the tower of his situation, then advanced both engines to 80 percent, and they then responded correctly when he reduced power to 20 percent. As he began to land with the engines both in an idle position, the left engine surged to 65 percent again, causing the right wing to drop and hit the runway. The right wing separated from the airplane, and a fire ensued. Investigation after the crash did not reveal any problems with the engine, but the fuel control units had their idle flow set higher than they should have been. The manufacturer stated that this could have caused asymmetrical thrust when both engines are set to the flight idle position. Slack Davis Sanger represented the pilot, who suffered serious burns in the accident. Ladd Sanger negotiated a substantial settlement for his past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Ladd Sanger is an attorney and a licensed pilot who focuses on aviation accidents, including product liability, product litigation, and representing clients who have been injured as a result of aviation accidents. His experience as a pilot helps him understand the technical aspects of aviation crashes.

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