Negligent Repair and Maintenance Results in General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Slette-Allen v. Beechcraft

On July 3, 2005, a Beech V35 airplane, N2056W, crashed into a swamp near DeFuniak Springs, Florida. The flight originated at Pearland Regional Airport near Houston, Texas, and was bound for Panama. Approximately six minutes before the crash, the pilot radioed Elgin Air Force Base radio control, stating that he believed he had lost his engines. The pilot stated he was looking for a place to land, and the controller sent him the coordinates of the DeFuniak Springs airport, approximately five miles southwest. In his final radio transmissions, the pilot stated that he could see the airport but did not think he could make it and was going to try to land on a road that was closer. The plane crashed into a swamp at a near-vertical angle. Ladd Sanger represented the pilot’s son in a suit against several companies that had performed repair and maintenance on the plane for negligence. The aircraft had been serviced before the flight, and the engine had been replaced shortly before the crash. An independent investigation showed that the contact points in both magnetos were defective. The contact point for the left magneto was painted with zinc chromate primer, which prevented the point from grounding. The right magneto had corroded contact points. Both had tags from one of the defendants. Slack Davis Sanger negotiated with multiple defendants to secure a substantial settlement for this sole survivor.

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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