Suit Calls Routine Inspection "Cursory And Inadequate"
insurance company for Porter Valparaiso Hospital Campus filed a
federal lawsuit Thursday against the pilot and owners of a medical
helicopter over a failed takeoff in July 2005.
While transporting a patient to the University of Chicago
Hospital, the helicopter pitched uncontrollably and came crashing
back down onto the hospital helipad shortly after liftoff. No one
on board was injured.
The lawsuit alleges both parties were negligent by failing to
properly inspect and maintain the aircraft and that a maintenance
company performed defective repairs before the crash. The cause was
ultimately determined to be a mechanical problem.
The National Transportation Safety Board report concluded, "The
loose tail rotor drive shaft coupling due to its improper
installation by the operator's maintenance personnel, which
resulted in the failure of the tail rotor drive shaft."
The insurance company is attempting to recoup the $469,258 it
paid out to the hospital for damages to the building from the
accident, according to the Northeast Indiana Times.
The pilot, Edward D. Ban of Naperville, IL, reported he tried to
steer the helicopter to the right, but the aircraft would not
respond. He said he performed a routine inspection of the
helicopter prior to take-off; the lawsuit calls that inspection
"cursory and inadequate."
A Wisconsin-based company, Helicopter Specialties, is also named
in the suit. It alleges that it was the company that performed the
mechanical overhaul of the helicopter shortly before the crash.
Steve Springer, attorney for Pennsylvania-based C.J. Systems
Aviation Group Inc.; its parent company, Corporate Jets Inc.; owner
of the helicopter, declined to comment to Times reporters on
specific questions while the lawsuit is still being