Father of Deceased Pilot Sues KLM Flight School

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
By George Hatcher

A grieving father whose son died of trauma and “horrific burn injuries” when the plane he was in crashed in Arizona is suing the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines subsidiary, Canada-based CAE and its school in Arizona for causing his son’s death.

Bennell worked for CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Phoenix, which had a training-services agreement with KLS.

The complaint states that the training agreement between CAE and KLM “had financial incentive awards and penalties associated with the number of training flights provided to KLM flight students,” contributing “to a culture whereby safe flight practices were sacrificed for economic gain.”

The accident occurred on Sept. 13, 2012. The student pilot,Lucas Westenberg, 19, from the Netherlands, and Rob Van Den Heuvel, a 68-year-old retired KLM flight officer and former Dutch air force fighter pilot died in the same accident.

Taylor Bennell died in the crash. He was licensed by the FAA but not the JAA (in Europe); but without JAA certification, regulations forbade Bennell to teach. But Bennell had allegedly been ordered to provide Westenberg with flight instruction.

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