Potential Manufacturing Defect Causes Fatal Helicopter Crash in Kendall, FL

Posted on by in Aviation Accidents

On the afternoon of April 3, 2013, a Robinson R44 four-seat helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, killing the pilot and one passenger. The pilot was Mark Palmieri, who owned Bravo Helicopters based at the airport and who miraculously survived another crash just two years ago.

The aircraft crashed into an industrial park, but luckily no one was injured on land. According to witnesses, the helicopter burst into flames immediately after the crash and firefighters struggled to take the victims out of the aircraft. Unfortunately, their effort did not pay off, as both victims died from severe chest injuries.

According to official statistics released by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, in 2007 there were 654 Robinson R44 helicopters sold in the U.S., being the most popular civil helicopter model in the U.S. However, the manufacturer of the model recently issued a recall to fix to the fuel tanks that were improperly designed and able to catch fire even in low-impact crashes.

Florida Helicopter Accident Causes

In 2008 there were altogether 140 civil helicopter accidents reported resulting in 75 fatalities and 28 severe injuries. As the number of accidents is decreasing, resulting in only 83 fatal crashes in 2012, the number of fatalities is growing: 174 lives were lost due to civil helicopter accidents in 2012.

Helicopters operate using several complex systems such as:

  • engines
  • rotors
  • driveshafts
  • gears
  • electronics
  • flight controls
  • landing gear

All these elements have to work properly both as single components and as parts of the entire machinery to allow a safe flight. Any manufacturing or design defect can be fatal. Other factors that can lead to helicopter accidents include:

  • failure to properly plan the flight
  • improper training
  • failure to operate the aircraft within its limits
  • operating in unsafe environmental conditions
  • improper use or maintenance
  • improper design or faulty manufacture
  • inadequate testing or quality control
  • inadequate lubrication or cooling

As the investigation is ongoing, it is difficult to tell what exactly caused the Wednesday crash. Investigators are considering various scenarios from the collision with a bird to homicide and of course manufacturing defect. It is not known yet whether the aircraft had its fuel tank replaced or that was an operation to follow.

How Can Miami Lawyer Sean M. Cleary Help?

No matter what caused the accident, one thing is for sure. Helicopter accidents occur because someone failed to do what needed to be done or did something that shouldn't have been done. Either way, helicopter accidents are preventable, and if they occur, there is usually someone, a person or a corporation to be held liable.

For victims or their surviving families in case of a fatal crash, it is imperative to find an experienced aviation accident attorney who can investigate the crash and determine the liable party. Most often aviation accidents are caused by other factors than the obvious ones, and there are several causes and several responsible parties. Before going to trial, all these details have to be clarified to have a successful lawsuit and enjoy just compensation. for a free consultation, please contacts us at 305.416.9805.

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