Friday, January 15, 2021

Sonex Waiex, N150ML: Incident occurred January 14, 2021 at Naples Municipal Airport (KAPF), Collier County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Aircraft failed to maintain lift while taking off, veered off runway and struck runway end identifier lights. 


Date: 14-JAN-21
Time: 19:43:00Z
Regis#: N150ML
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: EXPERIMENTAL
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: NAPLES
State: FLORIDA

Cozy Mark IV, N15CZ: Incident occurred January 14, 2021 at Punta Gorda Airport (KPGD), Charlotte County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Aircraft canopy opened on takeoff causing aircraft to veer into grass and strike runway lights. 


Date: 14-JAN-21
Time: 15:10:00Z
Regis#: N15CZ
Aircraft Make: COZY
Aircraft Model: MARK IV
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: PUNTA GORDA
State: FLORIDA

Beech B-99 Airliner, N4299A: Incident occurred January 14, 2021 at Portland International Airport (KPDX), Oregon

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aircraft landed and wheel broke off and rolled away. 

UAS Transervices Inc


Date: 14-JAN-21
Time: 00:36:00Z
Regis#: N4299A
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 99
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: AMERIFLIGHT
Flight Number: AMF1967
City: PORTLAND
State: OREGON

Cessna T210F Turbo Centurion, N6789R: Incidents occurred January 16 and January 14, 2021

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

January 16, 2021:  Aircraft was pushed off taxiway due to wind gust and incurred a propeller strike at Stillwater Regional Airport (KSWO),  Payne County, Oklahoma.

Dan Howard Aircraft Sales LLC


Date: 16-JAN-21
Time: 00:13:00Z
Regis#: N6789R
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: T210
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91
City: STILLWATER
State: OKLAHOMA

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

January 14, 2021: Aircraft made precautionary landing on dirt road due to low fuel in Moab, Grant County, Utah. 

Dan Howard Aircraft Sales LLC


Date: 14-JAN-21
Time: 23:32:00Z
Regis#: N6789R
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 210
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: MOAB
State: UTAH

Cessna 172G Skyhawk, N5930R: Accident occurred January 14, 2021 at Southwest Washington Regional Airport (KKLS), Kelso, Washington

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.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington

Downwind Corp


Location: Kelso, WA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA100
Date & Time: January 14, 2021, 13:00 Local 
Registration: N5930R
Aircraft: Cessna 172G
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N5930R
Model/Series: 172G 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLS,20 ft msl 
Observation Time: 12:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C /4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.36 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Scappoose, OR (SPB)
Destination: Kelso, WA (KLS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.12,-122.9 (est)


Kelso, Washington – A single-engine aircraft ran off the runway and flipped onto its top at Kelso Airport around noon today. 

The pilot was the only person on board and was uninjured.

The pilot reported that he was unable to steer his aircraft after landing and that it turned off of the runway into the grass.

The aircraft wheels wedged into the soft ground and the aircraft flipped onto its top. 

Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue (C2FR), Kelso Police Department, Cowlitz County Sherriff’s Department along with Airport personnel and the LifeFlight crew stationed at the airport responded. 

The pilot secured electrical and potential fuel hazards before exiting the aircraft.

Law Enforcement will be assisting in the investigation of the cause of the crash with results available at a later date. 

LT. Dan W. Cothren, Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue 

Extra EA 300/L, N771JP: Accident occurred January 13, 2021 in Pell City, St. Clair County, Alabama

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. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
    

Location: Pell City, AL
Accident Number: ERA21LA107
Date & Time: January 13, 2021, 13:19 Local
Registration: N771JP
Aircraft: EXTRA FLUGZEUGBAU GMBH EA
300/L Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 13, 2021, about 1319 eastern standard time, an Extra Flugzeubau GMBH EA300L, N771JP, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Pell City, Alabama. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he departed with 14 gallons of fuel in the wing tanks and 12 gallons in the center tank. After a 10-minute flight, he was on approach about 1,500 ft above ground level when the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot was unable to restart the engine and the airplane’s left-wing stuck trees and terrain during the ensuing forced landing.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest upright in a field and sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. There was no odor of fuel and no evidence of fuel spillage at the scene. The center fuel tank was completely full, and the wing fuel tanks contained only trace amounts of fuel.

The airplane was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: EXTRA FLUGZEUGBAU GMBH
Registration: N771JP
Model/Series: EA 300/L Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ASN,528 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C /1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 11000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Gadsden, AL (GAD) 
Destination: Pell City, AL (PLR)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.581338,-86.241358 (est)

Grob G120TP-A, N197TP: Incident occurred January 13, 2021 at Headland Municipal Airport (0J6), Henry County, Alabama

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida

Aircraft nose gear collapsed on landing and slid off runway.  

CAE USA


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 22:50:00Z
Regis#: N197TP
Aircraft Make: GROB
Aircraft Model: G120
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: HEADLAND
State: ALABAMA

Pilatus P-3, N844LT: Incident occurred January 13, 2021 at Key West International Airport (KEYW), Monroe County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Aircraft taxiing for departure veered off taxiway into the grass.


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 18:55:00Z
Regis#: N844LT
Aircraft Make: PILATUS
Aircraft Model: P3
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91
City: KEY WEST
State: FLORIDA

Yakovlev Yak-52, N666EN: Incidents occurred August 20, 2021, January 13, 2021 and March 18, 2019

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida 

August 20, 2021:  Aircraft experienced engine issues and landed in a field. 

Ridgerunner 51 LLC


Date: 20-AUG-21
Time: 17:30:00Z
Regis#: N666EN
Aircraft Make: YAKOVLEV
Aircraft Model: YAK 52
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: CRESTVIEW
State: FLORIDA

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida

January 13, 2021:  Aircraft veered off taxiway and struck a taxiway light at Bob Sikes Airport (KCEW), Crestview, Okaloosa County, Florida.

Ridgerunner 51 LLC 


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N666EN
Aircraft Make: YAKOVLEV
Aircraft Model: YAK52
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: CRESTVIEW
State: FLORIDA

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

March 18, 2019:  Exited runway and gear collapsed at Springdale Municipal Airport (KASG), Arkansas.

Date: 18-MAR-19
Time: 20:21:00Z
Regis#: N666EN
Aircraft Make: YAKOVLEV
Aircraft Model: YAK 52
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91
City: SPRINGDALE
State: ARKANSAS

Beech P35 Bonanza, N436T: Accident occurred January 12, 2021 at Poplar Grove Airport (C77), Boone County, Illinois

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.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois

Location: Poplar Grove, IL
Accident Number: CEN21LA189
Date & Time: January 12, 2021, 15:00 Local
Registration: N436T
Aircraft: Beech P35 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N436T
Model/Series: P35
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRFD
Observation Time: 15:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Rockford, IL (RFD)
Destination: Poplar Grove, IL (C77)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.321487,-88.837441 (est)

Cessna 175 Skylark, N6695E: Incident occurred January 13, 2021 in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois

Aircraft landed on median of Interstate 57 due to engine issues. 

Kilo Aviation LLC


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 02:28:00Z
Regis#: N6695E
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 175
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: MARION
State: ILLINOIS



WILLIAMSON CO., Illinois (WSIL) -- A small plane made an emergency landing Wednesday evening just after 8:30 p.m. on Interstate 57 about 10 miles south of Marion coming to rest in the median.

The pilot was uninjured and the plane sustained minimal damage according to Illinois State Police.

The flight tracking site, FlightAware.com, shows the plane is a 1959 Cessna 175 Skylark, a 4-seater, 1-engine plane, registered to Kilo Aviation out of Lacon, Illinois.

The plane had departed from Union City, TN on path for Peoria. The plane was trying to reach Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois when the plane's engine lost power, and needed to make an emergency landing.

Traffic in the northbound lanes of the interstate was closed for around 20 minutes as a tow truck removed the plane.


MARION, Illinois — The owner of a Lacon-based aviation company avoided injury when forced to land an airplane in the median of a southern Illinois interstate highway.

The incident happened about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 57, about six miles south of Marion.

Kent Cook was flying a private aircraft when engine trouble developed. He guided the single-engine plane onto the I-57 median near milepost 47 in Williamson County, according to the Illinois State Police district based in Du Quoin.

The plane, a 1958 Cessna 175 Skylark, sustained minimal damage. Cook was the only occupant.

"It was the best possible outcome," he said Thursday.

Cook said he was flying from Union City, Tenn., to Lincoln. He was transporting the plane as part of his business, Kilo Aviation.

The company is based at Marshall County Airport in Lacon. It manages anywhere from four to 12 private planes.

WSIL-TV (3) in Harrisburg reported where the plane was registered.

Cook said he was about one-half hour into the flight when he realized there was a problem with the four-seat plane. He said planes of that vintage still are able to fly routinely.

Boeing 747-400F, N716CK: Incident occurred December 24, 2020 in Covington, Kentucky

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cincinnati, Ohio

Aircraft experienced foreign object debris to the No.3 engine. 

Kalitta Air LLC


Date: 24-DEC-20
Time: 12:35:00Z
Regis#: N716CK
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 747
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: CARGO
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: KALITTA AIR
Flight Number: CKS977
City: COVINGTON
State: KENTUCKY

Cessna 206H Stationair, N334WD: Incident occurred January 13, 2021 at Oakland County International Airport (KPTK), Pontiac, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; East Michigan

Aircraft blew a tire on touchdown and veered off runway striking a runway light. 

Chaparral Air Group


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 21:05:00Z
Regis#: N334WD
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 206
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Flight Number: FNT107
City: PONTIAC
State: MICHIGAN

Airbus A320, N922NK: Incident occurred January 13, 2021 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH), Houston, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Aircraft struck a coyote during departure. 

Spirit Airlines


Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 02:30:00Z
Regis#: N922NK
Aircraft Make: AIRBUS
Aircraft Model: A320
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: SPIRIT
Flight Number: NKS264
City: HOUSTON
State: TEXAS

Beech B200 Super King Air, N954MS: Accident occurred January 13, 2021 at Corpus Christi International Airport (KCRP), Nueces County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aircraft landed and veered off runway damaging nose gear. 


Date: 14-JAN-21
Time: 00:28:00Z
Regis#: N954MS
Aircraft Make: RAYTHEON
Aircraft Model: B200
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: CORPORATE
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: CORPUS CHRISTI
State: TEXAS

Hughes 269C, N7480F: Accident occurred January 13, 2021 near Spanish Fork Municipal/Woodhouse Field (KSPK), Utah County, Utah

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.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Schweizer Aircraft; Fort Worth, Texas 
Location: Spanish Fork, UT
Accident Number: WPR21LA086
Date & Time: January 13, 2021, 13:50 Local
Registration: N7480F
Aircraft: Hughes 269C 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On January 13, 2021, about 1350 mountain standard time, a Hughes 269C helicopter, N7480F, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Spanish Fork, Utah. The instructor and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight instructor, they performed an uneventful preflight inspection, started the helicopter and transitioned into a hover. The pilot receiving instruction reported that during the engine run-up, which was performed at 2,500 rpm, they reduced engine power to idle and observed normal rotor and rpm separation. The instructor stated that after departure they entered the airport traffic pattern where they performed several landings and three autorotative maneuvers at the airport. They subsequently departed the airport traffic pattern and flew to a nearby practice area west of the airport. After performing two recoveries from settling with power, they elected to return to the airport. During cruise flight at 6,500 ft mean sea level, 1,500 ft above ground level (agl), the instructor decided to practice a simulated engine failure and decreased power to idle as he announced to the pilot receiving instruction that they had lost power. The pilot receiving instruction lowered the collective to enter an autorotative maneuver and selected a landing site when prompted by his instructor. As the helicopter descended to 500 ft agl, the instructor advised the pilot receiving instruction to recover, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to restore power. The instructor immediately took control of the helicopter and attempted an air restart, but was unsuccessful. He flared the helicopter as it passed below 30 ft agl to reduce airspeed and the helicopter’s rate of descent. The instructor then raised the collective to arrest their descent further before impact, but the helicopter had about 7 mph of forward movement as it contacted the soft ground. The helicopter nosed over and the main rotor blades contacted the tailboom,
which separated from the helicopter. The front right skid tube broke and the helicopter rolled onto its right side before it came to rest.

The helicopter was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N7480F
Model/Series: 269C 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPVU,4497 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C /-6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 300°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Spanish Fork, UT (SPK)
Destination: Spanish Fork, UT

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.130849,-111.6879

Passenger cannot sue airline over injuries: Fall from mobile stairs not ‘unexpected event’

Civil Action No. 19-30007-MGM
Moore v. British Airways PLC

THE ISSUE
Could a passenger who fell from portable stairs while disembarking an airplane hold the airline accountable for her injuries?

DECISION 
No (U.S. District Court)

LAWYERS
Kevin Chrisanthopoulos of Westfield (plaintiff)
Anthony U. Battista, Samantha M. Holloway and Marissa N. Lefland, of Condon & Forsyth, New York; Owen P. McGowan and Christopher J. Greeley, of McGowan Associates, Norwell (defense)

A passenger who fell from portable stairs while disembarking an airplane could not hold the airline accountable for her injuries, a U.S. District Court judge has determined.

Plaintiff Jennifer Moore sought to recover damages from defendant British Airways under the Montreal Convention, the international agreement that governs compensation for injuries to air travelers.

The plaintiff claimed that the last step of the staircase was unexpectedly higher than the previous steps, causing her to trip and injure her ankles.

In moving for summary judgment, British Airways argued that the plaintiff’s injury was not caused by an “unexpected or unusual event” that is “external to the passenger” and thus did not constitute an “accident” as required for liability under Article 17(1) of the Convention.

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni agreed.

“Although Plaintiff testified she does not remember ever using stairs to disembark from a plane, the inquiry is not about her personal, subjective expectations,” Mastroianni wrote, adding that the plaintiff provided no evidence to show the staircase was operating in an unintended or inappropriate manner.

“Defendant, on the other hand, has provided evidence that using mobile staircase[s] to disembark passengers is a routine operation in the industry, which Plaintiff has not disputed,” Mastroianni continued, granting British Airways’ motion.

The judge also found that the plaintiff’s state law negligence claim against the airline was preempted by the Montreal Convention, which was the sole avenue for relief under the circumstances.


‘Immaterial’ expectations

The case confirms that an individual’s personal expectations are immaterial to the question of whether an accident occurs under the Montreal Convention, said the defendant’s attorney, Anthony U. Battista of New York. 

“An adverse ruling would not have been in line with prior [U.S.] Supreme Court precedent, which looked to the circumstances surrounding the accident and whether they’re unusual or unexpected in the context of the aircraft’s operation,” he said.

Battista added that the issue of whether the alleged danger posed by the staircase constituted an “unexpected event” was not a question for the jury as mobile staircases are used as a matter of course in the industry and this particular staircase was only a few months old and in perfect operating condition.

“All other staircases used throughout the industry have the same issue [of the last step being a greater height than the others] because they’re mobile staircases and have to be able to traverse the airport ramp,” he said.

Plaintiff’s counsel, Kevin Chrisanthopoulos of Westfield, said his client intends to appeal the ruling.

“The decision failed to take into account a number of facts and expert testimony … establishing that the significant height difference in the last step was indeed an ‘unexpected event,’” he said. “In particular, expert testimony was offered establishing the height difference was unsafe and deviated from industry standards. A deviation from industry standards certainly would not be considered ‘usual, normal and expected.’”

“Expert testimony was offered establishing the height difference was unsafe and deviated from industry standards. A deviation from industry standards certainly would not be considered ‘usual, normal and expected.’”


Christopher F. Earley, a Boston attorney who represents injury victims, said he thought the judge interpreted the term “accident” under the language of the Montreal Convention rather narrowly.

“The court focused on whether or not an ‘external’ factor caused the plaintiff’s injury rather than her own independent conduct,” he said. “Therefore, unless counsel can find a discernible ‘external’ cause of a plaintiff’s injury upon an aircraft, any claims brought under the Montreal Convention will likely fail per the reasoning of the court.”

Boston trial attorney Eric J. Parker, who has handled aviation-related tort cases for more than 30 years, said conventions like the Montreal Convention and its precursor, the Warsaw Convention, “in a word, suck.”

“The unfortunate reality is that these conventions have very restrictive language, and they preempt state law,” he said. “Anyone doing plaintiffs’ work long enough knows that when there’s a highly restrictive federal statute in place or, in this case, a convention preempting state law, you’ll find yourself with limited options and very restrictive rules regarding the ability to recover.”

That means that when conventions come into play, practitioners need to be careful at the intake stage as to whether they can actually do anything for the client, Parker continued. “It looks to me like this lawyer did everything he could think of to help his client, but his hands were tied.”

Treacherous stairs?

On September 15, 2018, Moore arrived at London Heathrow Airport on a British Airways flight from Boston.

The airline used a mobile staircase for passengers to exit the plane because the jet bridge was broken. Apparently that is a common practice among air carriers when a jet bridge is not available.

A crew member stationed at the top of the staircase apparently told passengers to watch their step.

Carrying two pieces of hand baggage, the plaintiff proceeded down more than 20 steps before reaching the last step, which was of greater height than the previous steps.

Not expecting the change in height, the plaintiff lost her balance, fell and injured her ankles.

The plaintiff’s travel companion was also apparently caught off guard by the last step, but caught herself and tried to warn the plaintiff. Additionally, the airline had no personnel assisting passengers at the last step and gave no specific warning about the height difference at that step.

According to a British Airways safety officer who arrived at the scene after the plaintiff’s fall, the stairs were correctly positioned with good grips on them.

Meanwhile, neither the plaintiff nor her companion alleged that any precipitation, liquids or garbage was on the staircase.

In 2019, the plaintiff filed suit against the airline in U.S. District Court, asserting a state law negligence claim and a claim for damages under the Montreal Convention.

According to the plaintiff, the mobile staircase was unreasonably dangerous at 13 inches in height, considering that the other steps were only 7.4 inches in height and that, according to her expert, British safety standards consider the maximum rise people can navigate safely to be 8.7 inches.

“The unfortunate reality is that these conventions have very restrictive language, and they preempt state law.”

The expert also testified, however, that the standard in question was merely voluntary guidance and applied to steps connected to a building, not to the mobile stairs at issue.

British Airways moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Montreal Convention preempted the plaintiff’s state law claim and that the plaintiff’s injuries were not compensable because her fall did not constitute an “accident” within the meaning of the convention.

Not ‘unexpected’

Addressing the defendant’s motion, Mastroianni found that the plaintiff’s state law negligence claim indeed was preempted.

“There is no dispute that the incident in question occurred in the course of disembarking,” he said. “Therefore, the Convention is the sole avenue for relief.”

With respect to her claim under the Montreal Convention, the judge said the plaintiff offered no evidence to support her contention that the use of a mobile staircase to disembark constituted an “unexpected event” — a necessity for showing there was a compensable accident.

First, Mastroianni said, while Moore said she did not remember ever using stairs to disembark a plane, her subjective expectations were irrelevant to the inquiry.

The more relevant question was whether the use of mobile staircases to unload passengers from planes was a “routine operation in the industry,” an issue the plaintiff had not disputed, the judge said.

Additionally, Mastroianni continued, there was no dispute as to the conditions of the staircase on that particular day, and the plaintiff provided no evidence that the staircase was operating in an inappropriate manner.

“The stairs were functioning normally, positioned as intended, not wet, unobstructed, and with good grip,” he observed. “Passengers were not pushing or jostling down the stairs.”

And while the last step may have been a noticeably greater height than the others, the plaintiff provided no evidence that that was unusual for mobile staircases, he said.

Because the plaintiff did not sufficiently allege her injury constituted an “accident” as defined by the Convention, Mastroianni concluded, summary judgment should be granted.  

Original article can be found here:  https://masslawyersweekly.com

Negligence – Montreal Convention – Mobile staircase

U.S. District Court

By: Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff
January 4, 2021

Where a passenger who suffered an injury while disembarking from an airplane has filed a claim against the defendant airline for damages under the Montreal Convention, the defendant should be granted summary judgment because the plaintiff has not offered evidence to support her contention that the use of a mobile staircase to disembark was an unexpected event.

“Plaintiff Jennifer Moore was traveling as a passenger on a British Airways flight when she suffered an injury while disembarking from the airplane. Plaintiff filed a claim against Defendant British Airways for damages under the Montreal Convention (Count One) and for negligence (Count Two). Defendant has moved for summary judgment on all claims. … With her opposition, Plaintiff late-filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment that the incident at issue was an ‘accident’ under the Montreal Convention. …

“On September 14 and 15, 2018, Plaintiff was traveling as a passenger on British Airways Flight 202 from Boston, Massachusetts to London, England as part of round-trip transportation. Upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, due to a broken jet bridge, the passengers disembarked by portable stairs. … The last step was a bigger height than the previous steps, which Plaintiff was not expecting, causing her to lose her balance, fall, and injure her ankles. …

“… Article 17(1) of the Convention, the relevant provision in this case, states that a ‘carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.’ …

“… For liability under Article 17(1), the injury must have been sustained during an ‘accident.’ … The First Circuit has held that to allege an ‘accident,’ (1) the claim must allege an occurrence which ‘arises from some inappropriate or unintended happenstance in the operation of the aircraft or airline’ and, additionally, (2) a carrier’s Article 17 liability is triggered only when ‘a passenger’s injury is caused by an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger.’ …

“As an initial matter, Plaintiff’s state law claim for negligence is preempted. There is no dispute that the incident in question occurred in the course of disembarking. Therefore, the Convention is the sole avenue for relief for Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s counsel acknowledged as much at the hearing. Count II does not survive the summary judgment stage.

“With respect to Plaintiff’s claim under the Montreal Convention, Plaintiff has not offered evidence to support her contention that the use of a mobile staircase to disembark is an unexpected event. Although Plaintiff testified she does not remember ever using stairs to disembark from a plane, the inquiry is not about her personal, subjective expectations. … Defendant, on the other hand, has provided evidence that using mobile staircase to disembark passengers is a routine operation in the industry, which Plaintiff has not disputed. …

“Next, there appears to be very little factual dispute regarding the conditions of the mobile staircase that was used to disembark passengers including Plaintiff. The stairs were functioning normally, positioned as intended, not wet, unobstructed, and with good grip. Passengers were not pushing or jostling down the stairs. The last step, down to the ground, was a noticeably larger height than any of the other steps. The issue is whether the use of a staircase with such height difference in the last step is an ‘inappropriate or unintended happenstance in the operation of the aircraft’ and ‘an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger.’ … Plaintiff has not pointed to any evidence that shows the staircase was operating in an unintended or inappropriate manner. All of the direct examinations of the staircase by Defendant’s employees and indirect examination by way of photographs by Plaintiff’s expert failed to find anything amiss with the operation of the staircase. Nor has Plaintiff provided evidence that the height of the last step was unusual for mobile staircases. Although her expert referenced various standards and their recommendations, they are voluntary and for non-portable stairs. Furthermore, Plaintiff has not shown how those standards make the last step’s height of the at-issue staircase atypical from other mobile staircases used to disembark passengers.”

Moore v. British Airways PLC (Lawyers Weekly No. 02-469-20) (9 pages) (Mastroianni, J.) (Civil Action No. 19-30007-MGM) (Dec. 28, 2020).