First Officer’s Improper Rudder Use Results in Commercial Airplane Crash Lawsuit

Case Title: American Airlines Flight 587

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587, flying from JFK International Airport, New York to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood in Queens, New York.

All 260 people on board died (251 passengers, nine crew members), along with five people on the ground. It was the second deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history. Because the accident occurred in New York City only two months after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, people initially feared the crash might have been a terrorist attack. Ultimately, the post-crash investigation determined that the crash was due to aggressive use of the rudder by the first officer. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed.

Slack Davis Sanger represented more than thirty clients from twenty-five different families in this matter. The settlements secured for the families affected are confidential. In response to the crash, American Airlines revised its training, and Airbus A300 changed its rudder design to help avoid future tragedies. This accident is still the second most deadly plane crash in American history.

Mike Slack has been practicing law for over 36 years and has litigated hundreds of lawsuits. His experience as a licensed pilot and former NASA aerospace engineer gives him unique insight into aviation accident lawsuits.

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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