Families Blame Airport, Pilots For Failed Go-Around
Five lawsuits have been
filed over the 2006 fatal downing of a Cessna Citation 560 at
McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, CA.
The North County Times reports two of the lawsuits allege the
January 24, 2006 accident was caused by negligence in how the
aircraft was operated. Another allegation says the county "allowed"
a structure to be placed near the end of the runway, and it
"created a dangerous condition and violated federal regulations"
said attorney Bruce Lampert who is representing the family of the
co-pilot who perished along with three others in the accident.
"We believe there was an obstruction on the airport runway, in
the environment of the airport runway, that was improper," Lampert
William O'Connor, attorney for the county, refused to
According to the NTSB Preliminary Report, the Citation impacted
the localizer antenna platform during an apparent aborted landing
on Runway 24 at McClellan-Palomar Airport.
The report further states the landing gear "impacted the
localizer platform structure, and its left wing tip collided with a
platform access ladder attached to the far left side of the
platform." It then traveled approximately another 400 feet and
"impacted much of the external surface of a 150 foot long
commercial self-storage building."
As Aero-News reported, the
plane burst into flames as it came to rest at the west end of the
storage building. Killed in the accident was pilot, John C.
Francis; co-pilot James A. "Andy" Garratt; and passengers Janet
Shafran and Frank H. Jellinek Jr.
Shafran's family and Jellinek's family are suing San Diego
County; the estates of the pilot and co-pilot; Goship Air LLC, the
owner of the aircraft; and the plane's operator, Jaxair LLC in
The two companies and the passengers' families are also suing
the county, alleging the plane was "fully capable of continued safe
flight during the attempted go-around procedure, but that the
antenna and ladder structure intruded upwards into the airspace at
the departure end of the runway," thus causing the accident.
Several claims have been filed with the FAA as well. The agency
has six months to act on those claims, according to an FAA
Passenger Shafran family's attorney, William Wimsatt, said the
county told him in a letter that it leased the antenna and ladder
structure to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"It's unestablished, in my mind as of right now, just what
responsibility the FAA had for the structure and what
responsibility San Diego County had for the structure," Wimsatt
He also said there did not appear to have been any problem with
the airplane and that Francis "was a well-qualified and highly
"We're simply waiting for the opportunity to get more
information," Wimsatt said.