Mark Pierce, lead attorney and of counsel to Slack & Davis, obtained a winning verdict against repair station Global Aviation Services, Inc. who negligently failed to properly inspect and repair a Twin Commander aircraft with a known history of loss of engine power, causing pilot trainee Rupom Sajib to sustain severe injuries when the pilot in command was forced to crash-land. Global was fully aware of the aircraft’s engine problems, but returned it to service and represented it was airworthy.
Pierce commented, “Global knew about the airplane’s problem with loss of engine power only days before the crash. Even with this knowledge, Global chose not to get to the root cause of the engine issues and instead put several people in danger.”
Background on Crash
On June 15, 2015, Sajib and pilot in command Burl James Wilkerson were on board the aircraft for a familiarization and demonstration flight at the Victoria Regional Airport in Victoria, Texas. Shortly after takeoff, power on both engines decreased substantially and the left engine failed catastrophically. Wilkerson alerted air traffic control that he was experiencing a problem and steered the plane into an open field to the left of the runway. Sajib sustained severe injuries in the crash landing.
Background on Global
Through the years, Global extensively maintained and repeatedly inspected the airplane for necessary repairs. Global was familiar with the condition and history of its engines; however, Global not only failed to properly inspect the engines for the known deficiencies, it assigned a mechanic to do the inspections and repairs who had no experience with piston aircraft engines. Further, Global produced incorrect and incomplete records that are required of a certified repair station under the Federal Aviation Regulations.
Attorney Paula Knippa said, “Global failed to exercise the expected degree of care for the safety of the airplane’s passengers and the public. Even more egregious was their knowledge of the issues that would likely cause serious injuries. They completely disregarded the potential consequences of their substandard work.”
The jury in the 61st Judicial District Court of Texas (Cause No. 2015-27690-7) ruled in favor of Sajib.