Wed, Jan 26, 2005
They'll Receive Millions From C-23 Makers, Modifiers
The families of five Virginia National Guardsmen killed when
their C-23 Sherpa went down in rural Georgia south of Macon in 2001
have settled with the manufacturer for millions. Suits filed by the
families of the three flight crew members on board have not been
settled. They are among 16 federal suits still pending in the
The five settlements on Monday involved:
- Staff Sgt. Paul J. Blancato
- Master Sgt. Eric C. Buhlman
- Staff Sgt. Randy V. Johnson
- Staff Sgt. John L. Sincavage
- Maj. Frederick Watkins
They mean that the families will
receive $3.75 million from Bombardier, subsidiary Short Brothers,
Duncan Aviation of Lincoln, NE, and Rockwell Collins.
Short made the plane in Ireland. Its conversion, facilitated by
Duncan, was carried out in West Virginia. The empennage was
shortened by six feet and the tail modified.
"These modifications had a substantial effect on the stability
of the aircraft, yet the design was never fully tested and the
National Guard was never warned of the potentially catastrophic
problems," said attorney Bob Spohrer, himself a pilot specializing
in aircraft accidents.
Rockwell Collins was sued because of alleged autopilot problems.
There were also charges that other avionics were inoperable or
poorly designed on board the Sherpa. In all, 18 guardsmen perished
when the aircraft went down in heavy weather near Unadilla, GA, on
March 3rd, 2001.
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