Fri, Nov 16, 2012
Pilot's Family Said Structure Was Purposely Designed To Avoid FAA Visibility Requirements
Ag pilot Stephen Allen was fatally injured in January, 2011, after his airplane struck a 198-foot-tall meteorological tower that, according to the NTSB's probable cause report, he likely did not see. His family has filed suit against the tower's builders, saying it was purposely designed to avoid FAA visibility requirements.
Allen had been flying for over 25 years, and ran his own agricultural spraying business, according to a report appearing in the Contra Costa (CA) Times. In the suit, his family contends that NRG systems purposely built the tower at 198 feet to avoid safety requirements for structures 200 feet and taller. Towers above 200 feet are required to be lit and painted in high-visibility colors according to federal law.
NRG has denied the allegations. In responding to the complaint, the company's attorney Craig Livingston said that Allen was "currently and comparatively negligent," making the accident his own fault.
The NTSB said in its probable cause report that "an in-flight collision with an unmarked meteorological evaluation tower (MET) during an aerial application flight due to the pilot's failure to see and avoid the obstacle. Contributing to the accident was the lack of visual conspicuity of the MET and the lack of information available to the pilot about the MET before the flight." The board's findings are not admissible as evidence in court.
Also named in the suit are property owners Delta Wetlands Properties and ZKS Real Estate Partners LLC, as well as tower installers Western Development and Storage LLC, Shah and Associates Inc. and Bouldin Farming Co. The suit had been filed a year ago, and was recently transferred to Contra Costa County Superior Court.
The case prompted the California legislature to enact a law requiring any tower over 50 feet tall and built after January 1, 2013 to be marked with orange and white paint, equipped with orange marking balls on guide wires, and the anchor points on the ground clearly marked. Lighting on such towers is optional.
Also: FAA Hiring Astray?, Comparison Shopping LSAs, Philippines Flying Limitations, Asteroid Redirect, Wings Of Mercy, Student Launch Challenge, Alaska Air In 2013, the State of Wa>[...]
Bad Weather Hammers Sulfur Springs Texas Airport And The Ladies Who Love Taildraggers Shut Down Their May 29-31 Fly-in Just in case you haven’t been watching the news, the Mi>[...]
Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents This Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents library represents some of the most major accidents and their related lesso>[...]
A unit of distance used in aviation and marine navigation and marine forecasts.>[...]
“As a pilot, your first job is to fly your own airplane. Part of that job is to scan for other airplanes.” Source: NTSB Chair Christopher Hart.>[...]