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Wed, Dec 09, 2009

FAA Sued Over Jacksonville, Florida ATC In Gainesville Accident

Third Time In 10 Years Jacksonville Controllers Actions Questioned

The daughters of a couple killed when their charter flight went down short of the Gainesville, Florida airport in November of last year have sued the FAA, saying Jacksonville air traffic controllers did not properly do their jobs in relation to the accident.

Attorney's for 22-year-old Kyle Taylor and 19-year-old Julia Taylor, the children of Barbara and Gordon Bennett Taylor, say the pilot of the airplane was not notified of poor weather conditions at the time of the accident.

Pilot Andrew Ricciuti was attempting to land at Gainesville, which is 57 nm southwest of Jacksonville International Airport. The Taylors had chartered the plane to take Gordon Taylor to Gainesville for a kidney transplant. The NTSB reports that the aircraft approached the airport too low and clipped trees before going down short of the runway. Weather was reported to be foggy at the time of the accident.

Jacksonville Television Stations WTLV and WJXX report that it is the third time in 10 years that the FAA has been sued over ATC operations at JIA. In one instance, an aircraft was attempting to land a JIA in December 2001 when it went down in foggy conditions. Their families received nearly $10 million in a settlement with the FAA. In the other, a plane that went down in the ocean off Vilano Beach, Florida in December of 2005. The FAA settled for $3 million in that instance. In both of those lawsuits, the plaintiffs claimed ATC did not properly do their job.

The NTSB did not find the controllers at fault in either of those incidents, but judges ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in civil suits. The FAA would not comment on the pending litigation, or why it settled in the other cases even though the official investigation found ATC was not responsible in either case.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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