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First Aspen Accident Trial's Over

Played Hardball, Hit Home Run

An accident that has had severe repercussions in the GA and business aviation worlds is continuing to create turbulence.

The trial is over, and families of three of the victims of the March, 2001 crash will split some $10.2 million with their lawyers.

The G-III pilots attempted to land at night, in a low-grade snowstorm. They hadn't received some new NOTAM about not circling after dark; and they tried to make the dangerous approach, apparently without visual reference. The landing was short. AvJet admitted its responsibility.

The Withams, Laurence and Lyle, will each start with $4,250,000, to cover the death of their 22-year-old daughter; Aurora Garcia will get $1,700,000, for the loss of two grandsons.

AvJet, which operated the charter, has settled most cases for undisclosed sums; after this award, it is likely that whoever hasn't settled, will go for a court award.

We reported a year ago...

"Conversations recorded by the CVR during the last 2 minutes of flight suggest that the flight crew was preoccupied with looking outside the cockpit in an attempt to visually locate the airport. As a result, the captain continued flight below the authorized MDA after failing to establish or maintain visual contact with the runway. The first officer did not challenge the captain’s actions."

FMI: www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20010412X00738&key=1

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