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Jury Awards 2008 Helicopter Crash Victims, GE Loses $177 million Judgment

Jury Awards 2008 Helicopter Crash Victims, GE Loses $177 million Judgment

Jury Awards 2008 Helicopter Crash Victims, GE Loses 7 million Judgment

What: GE Engines in Sikorsky S-61N helicopter
Where: Portland Courtroom
When: Aug. 5, 2008 crash, March 28, 2012 Jury decision
Who: 9 crash fatalities
Why: The Aug. 5, 2008 crash occurred after a loss of power in the No. 2 engine shortly after takeoff from a nearly 6,000-foot-high mountaintop in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Co-pilot William Coultas of Cave Junction, his wife, Chris, and the widow of pilot Roark Schwanenberg, 54, of Lostine were awarded $37 million and his wife $4.3 million by the jury, while the estate of Schwanenberg was awarded $28.4 million, according to The Associated Press. The jury placed 57 percent of the blame on GE, but also found the helicopter’s owner and its manufacturer partially at fault. Coultas is the only surviving crewman.

Fatalities include David Steele, 19, Ashland; Shawn Blazer, 30, Medford; Scott Charlson, 25, Phoenix; Matthew Hammer, 23, Grants Pass; Edrik Gomez, 19, Ashland; Bryan Rich, 29, Medford; and Steven “Caleb” Renno, 21, Cave Junction; U.S. Forest Service check pilot Jim Ramage, 63, of Redding, Calif.. Richard Schroeder Jr., Jonathan Frohreich and Michael Brown survived with injuries.

The case hinged on a problem with the engine’s fuel control valve. Evidence included a GE internal email from Aug. 6, 2008 discussing the size of the fuel filter, noting that the military version removes much smaller particles than the commercial version.

Official NTSB Report:
On August 5, 2008, about 1941 Pacific daylight time, a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter, N612AZ, impacted trees and terrain during the initial climb after takeoff from Helispot 44 (H-44), located at an elevation of about 6,000 feet in mountainous terrain near Weaverville, California. The pilot-in-command, the safety crewmember, and seven firefighters were fatally injured; the copilot and three firefighters were seriously injured. Impact forces and a postcrash fire destroyed the helicopter, which was being operated by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as a public flight to transport firefighters from H-44 to another helispot. The USFS had contracted with Carson Helicopters, Inc. (CHI) of Grants Pass, Oregon, for the services of the helicopter, which was registered to CHI and leased to Carson Helicopter Services, Inc. of Grants Pass. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a company visual flight rules flight plan had been filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The following actions by Carson Helicopters: 1) the intentional understatement of the helicopter’s empty weight, 2) the alteration of the power available chart to exaggerate the helicopter’s lift capability, and 3) the practice of using unapproved above-minimum specification torque in performance calculations that, collectively, resulted in the pilots relying on performance calculations that significantly overestimated the helicopter’s load-carrying capacity and did not provide an adequate performance margin for a successful takeoff; and insufficient oversight by the U.S. Forest Service and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Contributing to the accident was the failure of the flight crewmembers to address the fact that the helicopter had approached its maximum performance capability on their two prior departures from the accident site because they were accustomed to operating at the limit of the helicopter’s performance.

Contributing to the fatalities were the immediate, intense fire that resulted from the spillage of fuel upon impact from the fuel tanks that were not crash resistant, the separation from the floor of the cabin seats that were not crash resistant, and the use of an inappropriate release mechanism on the cabin seat restraints.

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Air Traffic Controllers Cleared Four Planes to Cross Runway at New York JFK as Swiss Flight to Zurich Was About to Takeoff

Air Traffic Controllers Cleared Four Planes to Cross Runway at New York JFK as Swiss Flight to Zurich Was About to Takeoff
The pilots of a SWISS International Airlines flight to Zurich averted a near disaster at New York JFK on Wednesday when air traffic controllers cleared four different planes to cross the same runway that the Swiss Airbus A330 with up to 236 passengers onboard had just been given permission to take off from. In fact,…

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YIKES: Air Traffic Control Cleared *FOUR* Planes To Cross In Front Of Jet About To Take Off From New York JFK – View from the Wing

YIKES: Air Traffic Control Cleared *FOUR* Planes To Cross In Front Of Jet About To Take Off From New York JFK – View from the Wing
Swiss flight 17 from New York JFK to Zurich was given clearance to take off on runway 4L – as four aircraft crossed right in front of it. This wasn’t one plane crossing in front of the other. It wasn’t one plane being cleared to land on top of the other. This was five planes being put in harms way by controller error.

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Real reason planes are nearly always white – and it’s good news for passengers

Real reason planes are nearly always white – and it’s good news for passengers
PASSENGERS were stunned when they discovered the real reason planes are nearly always painted white. Holidaymakers have often pondered the question why aircraft are usually all the same colour. And…

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Plane Pull surpasses $5 million for kids in need

Plane Pull surpasses  million for kids in need
INDIANAPOLIS — The Republic Airways 12th annual Plane Pull is celebrating a historic year. The event brings people together from all over central Indiana to pull a 24 ton airplane. That is nearly 5…

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British holidaymakers drank plane dry just 25 minutes into flight

British holidaymakers drank plane dry just 25 minutes into flight
Turkish-German airline SunExpress was shocked after every drop of beer and wine had been downed as they carted golfers off on holiday.

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United Airlines Captain Fumes About Rowdy Kids Treating Plane Like A “School Bus” – Live and Let’s Fly

United Airlines Captain Fumes About Rowdy Kids Treating Plane Like A “School Bus” – Live and Let’s Fly
A United Airlines captain was heard communicating with the company on whether to divert a flight because of a trio of raucous school groups onboard who were climbing over seats like a “school bus”

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Everything you need to know about the Russian Tu-22M3 bomber plane and how Ukraine said it shot one down in war first

Everything you need to know about the Russian Tu-22M3 bomber plane and how Ukraine said it shot one down in war first
The supersonic bomber is designed to take out sea- and ground-based targets using guided missiles and aerial bombs.

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Man’s leg ‘snapped in half’ 30 minutes into flight after plane hit by turbulence

Man’s leg ‘snapped in half’ 30 minutes into flight after plane hit by turbulence
Niko, 47, who lives in Bali, was left with a broken leg at the start of his journey to New Zealand after the plane was hit with ‘clear air turbulence’ while he was heading back to his seat

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Plane crashes in Paso Robles, 3 people injured

Plane crashes in Paso Robles, 3 people injured
By KAREN VELIE A small plane crashed off the runway at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport on Friday, injuring three people. Shortly before noon,

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Three people trapped in flipped plane at Paso Robles Airport

Three people trapped in flipped plane at Paso Robles Airport
Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services responded to reports of an aircraft off the runway at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport.

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Pilot’s chilling last nine words before plane crashed into the Atlantic

Pilot’s chilling last nine words before plane crashed into the Atlantic
Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. The pilot’s final nine words were revealed in the cockpit recording

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3 rescued after small plane flips at Paso Robles airport

3 rescued after small plane flips at Paso Robles airport
One person was sent to the hospital after the incident on Friday.

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Small single-passenger plane crashes in Lake County

Small single-passenger plane crashes in Lake County
The pilot’s identity will not be released at this time due to the investigation efforts being in the early stages, deputies said.

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‘Something was wrong’: Passenger on DCA plane that narrowly missed collision shares first-person account

‘Something was wrong’: Passenger on DCA plane that narrowly missed collision shares first-person account
ARLINGTON, Va. (DC News Now) — FAA continues its federal investigation into how two planes nearly collided on the runway at Reagan National Airport. A passenger on one of the flights is shari…

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1 dead following small plane crash in Lake County, sheriff’s office says

1 dead following small plane crash in Lake County, sheriff’s office says
One person has died following the crash of a small plane in Lake County.

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Southwest flight from St. Louis to Sacramento diverted back to airport

Southwest flight from St. Louis to Sacramento diverted back to airport
A Sacramento-bound Southwest Airlines flight was diverted back to the St. Louis airport on Friday. Passengers and Air Traffic Control audio said the plane landed safely after an issue with an engine.

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Delta flight declares emergency over flap issue on Boeing plane

Delta flight declares emergency over flap issue on Boeing plane
A Delta spokesperson emphasized the emergency was something flight crews are trained to respond to.

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Pilot’s chilling final words before plane crashed into the sea killing 228 people

Pilot’s chilling final words before plane crashed into the sea killing 228 people
The final words of the pilot manning Air France Flight 447 have been revealed.

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Simulation shows pilot’s chilling last words before Air France plane crashed into Atlantic killing 228

Simulation shows pilot’s chilling last words before Air France plane crashed into Atlantic killing 228
A simulation has revealed a pilot’s last words before flight AF447 crashed in 2009.

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At Reagan Airport, a Near Disaster on Runway

At Reagan Airport, a Near Disaster on Runway
Southwest plane nearly crossed runway in front of departing JetBlue plane Thursday in Virginia

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