It’s the American Way.
The family of Cory Lidle, the NY Yankee ball player who crashed in October 2006 while trying to reverse course in a tight Class B corridor in NY, is suing Cirrus Design for $45 million in lost wages…The premise is that a flight control system malfunction caused the SR20 to slam into the side of a building. The NTSB found no evidence of control system anomalies.
In the 1980’s over 90,000 general aviation jobs eventually were lost as plants closed. This was due in large part to the rise in damage awards and liability insurance costs associated with the manufacture of general aviation aircraft. Manufacturers passed along costs to their customers. Private aircraft had liability insurance expenses of approximately 40% of each plane produced. Flying is not inexpensive but this trend is making it prohibitive. Here’s the amazing factoid: Lawsuits occur in the majority of all crashes even though pilot error is responsible for 85 percent of them.
Flying has inherent risk. It’s not as safe as sitting on your sofa. From the evidence, it appears Cory Lidle flew into the equivalent of a box canyon and didn’t have room to maneuver. The turnaround on the Hudson was poorly executed.
Almost every NTSB accident report ends with the conclusion -“pilot error”. We are responsible for our safety and the safety of others. I don’t mean to marginalize the anguish of losing a loved one. My point : We have created a blaming mentality that engenders victimization. In the end no one really wins-except the lawyers.