Monday, July 08, 2013

Widow Blames TV Studio for Husband's Death - Courthouse News Service: Glaser-Dirks DG-1000S, N7760A, Accident occurred October 13, 2011 in Cle Elum, Washington

SEATTLE (CN) - A TV studio trying to save a little money negligently killed a woman's husband by hiring him and other inexperienced people to make a commercial featuring stunt gliding, the widow claims in court.

Nicole Weller sued Supply & Demand Inc., a New York City-based maker of TV commercials, for the death of her husband William Lynn Weller.

They are the only parties to the complaint in King County Court.

"Supply & Demand was hired to produce a Cadillac Escalade television commercial involving stunt glider flying," Weller says in the complaint. "The flying included an automobile ground launch of a high-performance glider, towed by a Cadillac Escalade, a sport utility vehicle. The plan was for the stunt glider pilot to then follow the Escalade along winding roads in scenic mountainous terrain, and end with promotional images of the Escalade. The filming was to be performed on the ground and in the air by way of helicopter-mounted cameras."

Weller claims that Supply & Demand sought advice from professional stunt pilots and aerial photographers, but "decided to save money by not using experienced TV/film production stunt pilots and experts, and instead solicited local persons for the commercial, some of whom did not have any experience in the TV/film industry and were not stunt pilots."

One of them was her husband, Weller says in the complaint. He was a general aviation glider pilot, with no experience in the film industry, and he was not a stunt pilot.

Supply & Demand hired him on Oct. 12, 2011, and began filming that day at Cle Elum Municipal Airport and environs.

"On Oct. 13, 2011, the Cadillac Escalade operated by Supply & Demand began to two Mr. Weller in his glider down the runway a Cle Elum Municipal Airport," the complaint states. "During filming of the ground tow operation, the aircraft became airborne, pitched up, rolled right, and rapidly descended, striking the ground and killing Mr. Weller."

Nicole Weller seeks funeral and burial expenses and damages for negligence and wrongful death. She is represented by James T. Anderson III with the Aviation Law Group.

Cle Elum is in the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle.


NTSB Report

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA010
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Cle Elum, WA
Aircraft: DG FLUGZEUGBAU GMBH DG 1000S, registration: N7760A
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On October 13, 2011, about 1558 Pacific daylight time, a Flugzeugbau DG 1000 S glider, N7760A, impacted terrain in a nose-low attitude shortly after takeoff from the Cle Elum Municipal Airport (S93), Cle Elum, Washington. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of the glider, was fatally injured. The 2-seat glider sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and wings. The glider was registered to Northwest Eagle Soaring LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

Full Narrative:

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