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Tue, Dec 28, 2010

Girl Injured In Aircraft Accident Sues Pilots

Claims Through Lawyers That The Airplane Carried Too Much Fuel

A teenage girl in California who was seriously injured in an accident at Trukee Tahoe Airport in September 2009 is suing the pilots of the airplane, claiming it carried too much fuel.

The suit was filed November 22 in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California. The Nevada Appeal reports that the then-14-year-old girl was a passenger in the plane which was owned by the parents of a friend. The Cessna 206B went down shortly after takeoff, and the suit says that the accident occurred because the aircraft was overweight for the density altitude at the airport.

The planes owner/pilots Karen and Steve Trolan say that the airplane was within its weight and balance envelope for the conditions at the airport that day. Karen Trolan told the paper that her family was also badly injured that day.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed for flight, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent impact with the ground. Contributing to the accident was the intermittent failure of the stall warning system due to a contaminated switch. The report (WPR09LA432) is not admissible as evidence in court. The report indicates that, using reported and estimated weights of the pilot and three passengers, aircraft empty weight, full fuel, and the weight of the baggage removed from the airplane, a Cessna Aircraft Company representative calculated the weight and balance. The representative stated that the airplane was within center of gravity limitations. The estimated weight of the airplane at the time of the accident was about 3,396 pounds. The maximum gross weight for the airplane was 3,600 pounds. Using the reported weather conditions and reported airport elevation, the density altitude at the time of the accident was calculated to be about 7,605 feet.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.sccsuperiorcourt.org

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