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Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 at 10:55 am by Williams Hart    

JUNE 30TH, 2019–Authorities are reporting that just after 9 A.M. on Sunday, a twin engine Beechcraft BE-350 King Air jet was involved in a collision on a Dallas-area airport runway, killing two crew members and eight passengers.

According to initial reports, the small plane lifted off the south end of the runway at the Addison Municipal Airport and immediately veered off course and plunged into a nearby hangar when it struggled to gain altitude. All ten people inside the aircraft were killed. 

As of Tuesday morning at 6:25AM, nine of the ten victims have been identified, including a family of four. 

Those killed are Brian and Ornella Ellard and her children, 15-year-old Alice Maritato and 13-year-old Dylan Maritato; Steve and Gina Thelen; John and Mary Titus; and Matthew Palmer, 28.

Our hearts are with the friends and families of all who lost their lives in the tragic accident.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were at the crash site on Sunday to investigate this accident. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will also be performing their own investigation. 

According to the most recent data from the NTSB, there were a total of 1,335 civil aviation accidents in the U.S. in 2016, 38 of which involved commuter and on-demand carriers–small aircrafts with 10 or fewer passenger seats. Nine of those accidents resulted in 27 fatalities. 

While the FAA states that since the 1970s there has been a 75% drop in corporate and business jet flights, accidents involving small aircraft passenger flights have increased by 20% in the last decade, and the fatality rate is up by 25%. 

Aviation accidents involving small commuter aircrafts lead to serious physical injuries and emotional and psychological damage, if not death. The unfortunate passing of these victims is a reminder that while aviation accidents are far more uncommon than other vehicular accidents, such collisions involving passenger cars, they are significantly more dangerous. 

Common Causes of Small Aircraft Accidents

Although the number of general aviation accidents is declining, the fatality rate of small aircraft accidents remains stubbornly flat. The following causes of aviation accidents are especially underlined in incidents involving small passenger aircrafts. 

Pilot error
  • Loss of control
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Lack of routine pilot proficiency checks
  • Poor risk management
Lack of safety features, such as:
  • Co-pilots
  • Back-up systems for navigation
  • Extra engines

Other causes: 

  • Equipment malfunction
  • Inclement weather
  • Fuel mismanagement

Taking Action

The FAA is making a difference to put the right technologies, regulations, and education initiatives in place to improve the safety of general aviation. Below are just a few of the actions that have been taken to reduce the fatality number to zero.

  • Pilot testing standards and training

The FAA has updated key elements of the airman certification system to include an enhanced focus on risk management.

  • New technologies

FAA has introduced new high-altitude air traffic control systems: En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) to streamline the certification and installation of equipment used to enhance pilots’ awareness of other traffic and improves safety in areas that radar cannot reach.

  • Enhanced aeronautical data

In 2016, the FAA launched the Got Data? External Data Access Initiative to give the private sector better access the FAA’s aeronautical data, including airports, navigation aids, fixes, obstacles, holding, approaches, and Temporary Flight Restriction information.

  • Aircraft design

Overhauled airworthiness by improving performance-based equipment standards to implement forward-looking, flexible rules that encourage innovation of small aircrafts.

What You Can Do

It is unfortunate to hear that ten more lives have been taken by a small aircraft accident and our condolences are with the families of the victims. 

These types of cases involving aviation-related fatalities are substantially complex. If you or a loved one are a victim of an aviation accident, or you have lost a loved one to an aviation accident, it is important to choose an attorney with the knowledge and experience in such cases to help you or your family receive justice.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


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