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Who is liable in a helicopter crash?

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2022 | Helicopter Crashes

Both pilots and aircraft operators alike could potentially face accountability in the event of a helicopter crash. Recent high-profile helicopter crashes brought the attention of the nation to this fact.

Many helicopter crashes do not happen due to the error or miscalculation of just one person, after all. It often involves failure to act properly on multiple levels.

Mistakes even experts make

Arkansas Gazette discusses incidents in which helicopters crash and certain people take the blame. Unfortunately, even experienced pilots can end up making mistakes that cost lives. For example, in the 2020 crash that took Kobe Bryant’s life and the life of everyone on board, the pilot had many years of flying under his belt and plenty of experience.

Unfortunately, the pilot violated his training, ignoring flight rules to proceed in poor visibility conditions. Instead of putting the helicopter on autopilot, slowing down or landing, he continued to move at full speed. He made the mistake of thinking he was heading upward when in reality he had begun to descend.

He had no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system and had made the trip many times before. This led to speculation that he had cut corners because he felt pressure to deliver his clients to their destination quickly.

The dangers of “the leans”

Pilots may also suffer from “the leans”. This is when pilots lose visual cues due to weather or darkness or suffer from an inner ear disturbance. This causes pilots to think they are maintaining a straight course when they are not.

Currently, the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act aims to have a warning system in place for helicopters carrying more than 6 people. This could potentially save lives in the future.