Monday, August 7, 2017

Compton/Woodley Airport (KCPM) plane crash lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, California: Aviat A-1 Husky, N6090U, registered to Wyoming Services LLC and operated by Aviad Corporation, fatal accident occurred August 09, 2015

Richard Gene Gochie



Lawsuit Alleges Negligence Caused Death in Compton Plane Crash


The Los Angeles law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman has filed an aviation wrongful death lawsuit against American Airports Corporation Inc. (AAC) on behalf of a woman whose husband was killed by the fire that ignited after his plane crashed at Compton Airport in Compton, California.

Aviation attorney Timothy A. Loranger filed the lawsuit (case no. BC670969) in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Michelle Gochie, who alleges that her late husband Richard Gochie’s wrongful death was caused by AAC’s negligence in failing to provide adequate Crash, Fire and Rescue (CFR) services that may have saved Richard Gochie’s life.

Pilot Still Alive after Banner Towing Plane Crashed

On the afternoon of August 9, 2015, Richard Gochie was piloting an Aviat A1 (“Husky”) aircraft while attempting to pick up an advertising banner. At approximately 12:35 p.m. after Mr. Gochie successfully snared the banner, but was unable to continue to climb out after releasing the banner. Witnesses say that the plane turned nose down before impacting with the ground.

Mr. Gochie survived the plane crash, suffering non-life-threatening physical injuries, but remained trapped in the cockpit as a fire ignited. A number of witnesses ran toward the crash site to offer assistance as the fire began to grow in intensity. Unable to escape and calling out for help, Mr. Gochie died from the post-crash fire that eventually engulfed the aircraft.

At the time of the 2015 crash, AAC was under contract with Los Angeles County to operate, manage and maintain Compton Airport, which includes the obligation to have rescue and firefighting equipment and trained personnel available to give CFR services as needed by persons flying into or out of Compton Airport.

The lawsuit alleges that AAC was negligent in the management, operation and maintenance of the Compton Airport when, among other things, they failed to have working and operational CFR vehicles and trained personnel on site to operate those vehicles and to provide CFR services to Mr. Gochie at the time of the crash. According to the complaint, AAC’s failure to maintain and repair CFR vehicles and equipment rendered them unusable.

As a result of this negligence, AAC failed to prevent or extinguish the resultant fire, take appropriate and necessary action to extricate Mr. Gochie from the wreckage, protect him from the resultant fire, and to render first aid to Mr. Gochie, who suffered survivable physical injuries from the crash.

Compton Plane Crash Lawsuit Claims American Airports Corporation Failed to Provide Rescue Services

According to the lawsuit, AAC had reason to know or knew their employees and/or agents would not be able to render necessary, appropriate, and required assistance, and that their CFR vehicles and equipment were not in working order, rendering them ineffective in the event of an emergency. Likewise, AAC knew or should have known that its personnel were incompetent and/or unfit and likely to cause harm to others in the performance of the work entrusted to them, per the complaint.

AAC’s negligence created a dangerous condition at Compton Airport, which was open and available to the public, according to the complaint. The dangerous condition was created wholly or in substantial part by AAC’s negligent, wrongful acts, by their failure to properly train, instruct, supervise, and manage their employees to provide aid and assistance in the event of a crash such as that described herein and their failure to maintain, repair and have CFR vehicles and equipment available and in working and serviceable condition for use at the time of the crash.

“Witnesses describe that AAC’s employee literally stood by and watched as Richard Gochie called for help, failing to give any assistance as required in this type of life threatening emergency.  The decision by AAC’s employee not to help Mr. Gochie, coupled with the later discovery that the available lifesaving equipment may not have been operational, is mindboggling,” said Timothy A. Loranger, attorney for Michelle Gochie. “As a result of AAC’s willful, wanton, and malicious disregard for human life, Mrs. Gochie lost her loving husband and lifelong companion.”

About the Aviation Attorneys at Baum Hedlund

The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman represents Michelle Gochie in her lawsuit against AAC over the wrongful death of her husband. Recognized for its success in litigating personal injury and wrongful death aviation cases, Baum Hedlund has successfully handled hundreds of airline, helicopter and airplane crashes across the nation.

Baum Hedlund previously handled a Compton plane crash in 2008 and 2009, when they represented three people who were injured when a Cessna lost power and crashed into their home.

Original article ➤ https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com




The widow of a pilot killed when a small, banner- towing plane crashed during takeoff from the Compton airport in 2015 is suing the airport’s managers, alleging the emergency personnel present that day were insufficiently trained to prevent her husband from burning to death.

Richard Gene Gochie, 48, of Redmond, Oregon, died on Aug. 9, 2015, from multiple traumatic injuries, according to a copy of his death certificate attached to the lawsuit that Michelle Denise Gochie’s filed Friday against American Airports Corp. Inc. in Los Angeles Superior Court.

An American Airports representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which alleges wrongful death, negligence and premises liability and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The crash occurred as the single-engine Aviat Husky A-1 was picking up a banner at Compton/Woodley Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to the lawsuit, Gochie survived the crash, but died from the fire that engulfed the aircraft. The airport’s emergency vehicles were not fully operational and the emergency employees present did not provide immediate aid, the suit alleges.

“As a result of defendants’ willful, wanton and malicious disregard for human life, Richard Gochie was killed,” the suit states.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board stated that witnesses saw Gochie pick up a tow banner successfully on his sixth attempt. Gochie then reported by radio that he was unable to climb and the banner fell to the ground, the NTSB report said.

The airplane spun to the left and headed downward and caught on fire, according to the report.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://mynewsla.com




The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lawndale, California
Lycoming Engines; Mesa, Arizona 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Registered Owner: Wyoming Services LLC
Operator: Aviad Corporation 

http://registry.faa.gov/N6090U

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA238
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 09, 2015 in Compton, CA
Aircraft: AVIAT INC A 1, registration: N6090U
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 9, 2015, at 1233 Pacific daylight time, an Aviat Husky A-1, N6090U, impacted the ground following a loss of control during a banner tow pickup at Compton/Woodley Airport, Compton, California. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. Aviad Corporation was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local banner tow flight.

Witnesses, who were ground personnel for the tow operation, reported that the pilot had unsuccessfully attempted to pick up a tow banner five times. He was successful on the sixth attempt, and the banner deployed normally, and the airplane's engine sounded normal. However, the pilot radioed to ground personnel that he was unable to climb. Witnesses reported that the banner released from the airplane's tail hook and fell to the ground. The airplane was wallowing left and right until it spun to the left and descended, subsequently impacted the ground, and burst into flames.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He held a first-class medical certificate with no limitations or waivers that was issued on July 27, 2015. The pilot reported on the application for this medical certificate that he had a total time of 2,501 hours with 367 hours logged in the last 6 months. No personal flight records were located for the pilot. The pilot submitted an insurance form to the operator dated January 21, 2014, which reported a total of 384 hours in the accident airplane make and model.

Training records for the pilot were obtained from the operator, and the training instructor was interviewed. The records indicated that the pilot began banner tow training on May 8, 2013, and he completed the training on May 26, 2013. The training included 10 hours of ground school and 8.1 hours of flight training. According to the instructor who provided the training and served as the chief pilot for the operator, after the pilot completed this initial training, he was placed on the operator's waiver to conduct banner tows. The instructor reported that soon thereafter, "safety issues started developing" with the pilot. The issues included picking up the banner with the tailwheel, low approaches, nonstandard patterns, dragging banners along the ground, adding power late, pitching up too high, multiple low misses, flying under instrument flight rules in an airplane equipped only for flight under visual flight rules during multiple ferry flights, and making unapproved repairs to banner equipment. All of these issues arose during 2014; the instructor reported them to the owner, and the pilot was retrained. The instructor left the operator in December 2014.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was an Aviat Inc., Model A-1, serial number 1300. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that the airplane had a total airframe time of 1,818.4 hours at the last annual inspection on April 17, 2015. The last maintenance entry in the logbook was dated July 18, 2015, at a total time of 1,878.8 hours.

The engine was a Lycoming O-360-A1P, serial number L-34663.36A. Total time recorded on the engine at the last 100-hour inspection on April 17, 2015, was 1,818.4 hours, which was also the time at major overhaul.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Compton/Woodley Airport is owned by the County of Los Angeles and is operated under contract by American Airports Corporation (AAC). AAC is responsible for the management and operation of the uncontrolled general aviation airport.

At the time of the accident, AAC's under the contract with the County of Los Angeles was required AAC to have three airport facility employees on the airport. At the time of the accident, there was only one employee on site. No other employees were available to respond to the accident site with any of the available airport equipment.




WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was located in the grass to the south of runway 25L and adjacent to taxiway Foxtrot. The banner system was located about midfield in the grassy area between runways 25L and 25R. Examination revealed no damage to either the banner or the tow hook rope.

The airplane came to rest in a nose-down configuration. The underside of the airplane was facing west. The tail section was bent forward towards the east. The fabric of the airplane was thermally consumed by the postimpact fire.

The on-scene examination of the airplane confirmed flight control continuity throughout the airplane. All flight control surfaces were located and attached at their respective locations. The tow hook on the airplane was examined; no abnormalities were noted. The hook was in the released position. There was no damage noted to the rudder horn or tail section.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner completed an autopsy on the pilot. The examination determined that the manner of death was multiple traumatic injuries.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens from the pilot, which were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Investigators examined the wreckage at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on August 26, 2015. The engine remained attached to the airframe and was removed before the examination. The engine was thermally damaged, which was a result of the postimpact fire.

All engine components were in their expected locations. The magnetos were attached; however, they were thermally damaged. The carburetor was detached due to the impact forces but was complete. Engine continuity was established from front to back. Cylinder compression was established on all cylinders. Oil was found in the crankcase, and the oil screen was clear of metallic debris. Oil was found in the propeller governor. The spark plugs were clean and intact. The examination identified no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.



NTSB Identification: WPR15FA238
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 09, 2015 in Compton, CA
Aircraft: AVIAT INC A 1, registration: N6090U
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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 August 9, 2015, at 1235 Pacific daylight time (PDT), an Aviat Husky A-1, N6090U, impacted the ground during a banner tow pick up at Compton/Woodley Airport, Compton, California. Aviad Corporation was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and the postcrash fire. The local banner tow flight departed Compton at 1235 PDT. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses to the accident reported that the pilot had attempted unsuccessfully to pick up a tow banner 5 times; the pilot was successful on his 6th attempt. The banner deployed normally and the airplane engine sounded normal. The pilot radioed that he was unable to climb. The banner released and fell to the ground. The airplane was observed wallowing left and right until the airplane spun to the left as it descended and subsequently impacted the ground. The airplane burst into flames and was consumed by the postimpact fire.

The airplane came to rest in a nose down configuration. The underside of the airplane was facing west. The tail section was bent forward towards the east. The fabric of the airplane was thermally consumed by the postimpact fire.

The on scene examination of the airplane by investigators confirmed flight control continuity throughout the airplane. All flight control surfaces were located and attached at their respective locations. The engine was thermally damaged and will be recovered and examined at a later date. The tow hook on the airplane was photographed and examined, no abnormalities were noted. The hook was in the released position. There was no damage noted to the rudder horn or tail section.

The banner system and the banner tow hook were found between runway 25L & 25R. Examination revealed no damage to either the banner or the tow hook rope.

The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

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