MountainFlyer
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Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:20 pm

Not exactly airline news, but significant I believe. Mods, feel free to change if you disagree.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-...cirrus-not-required-to-train-pilot

Quote:
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Duluth-based Cirrus Design Corp. had no legal duty to provide a flight lesson to a Grand Rapids man whose plane crashed in 2003, killing him and his passenger...


The NTSB report indicates the pilot was not instrument rated and flying in marginal VFR conditions.

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/br...ef.aspx?ev_id=20030122X00087&key=1

I posted this because I think it is hugely important to civil aviation. Essentially, the families were trying to place responsibility on the flight instructors and Cirrus for the pilot's decisions and lack of experience.

[Edited 2012-07-19 09:24:56]
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futureualpilot
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:39 pm

So a pilot decides to go fly after presumably checking the weather, in conditions they may/may not have enough experience to safely operate in, gets disoriented and crashes and somehow this becomes the aircraft manufacturer's fault? GMAFB.

Good on the court for not blaming Cirrus.

[Edited 2012-07-19 09:39:44]
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yyzala
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:53 pm

Well it is a no brainer that the pilot is ultimately responsible for his actions and the court has rightfully decided so. However an interesting bit from the article

Quote:
Cirrus also included two days of training in the purchase price, but Prokop did not receive in-flight training that would have included a maneuver to help him recover from an emergency in inclement weather.

The question becomes why didn't Cirrus teach this maneuver to the pilot? Is it because there wasn't enough time and told him to comeback later, and during this time the crash occured? Then no they are not responsible. But if they are supposed to teach it, but didn't, then they are quite liable....
 
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moo
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:05 pm

I find the dissenting opinions difficult to accept.

Quote:

Justices Paul Anderson and Alan Page disagreed.

"I conclude the majority's holding usurps the role of the jury and misreads our precedent," Anderson wrote in a dissenting opinion.

He also said the majority overstepped its authority and he was concerned about the far-reaching consequences, saying the opinion "essentially held that no consumer of a dangerous product may ever hold a supplier liable for personal injury arising out of defective nonwritten instructions."

The dissent also found it "absurd" that a supplier of an airplane would be held to the same standard as the supplier of a coffee pot.

Cirrus did not provide comprehensive flight training for the pilot. Cirrus did not profess to provide comprehensive training. Cirrus has no obligation in law to ensure that a purchaser is properly trained at all - this isnt about being held to the same standard as the supplier of a coffee pot, its about a car dealership not having to teach every buyer of a car how to drive, and ensuring that they pass a test, before allowing them to ever drive the vehicle.

The aircraft was not faulty, the training Cirrus provided was not faulty - it simply did not cover what the plaintiffs say it should have covered, which is something that the pilot should have been trained in when he gained his VFR (correct me if Im wrong, but you should get training on how to avoid inclement weather in VFR training, right? Because you can't go into it, you must avoid it to stay within VFR boundaries...)

This is a basic situation of the supplier having no control over the operation of the item once its in someone elses possession. The fact that Cirrus gave training should not ever make them liable for accidents or incidents involving situation that training does not cover - the jury decision to the opposite is simply ludicrous.

Imagine if I sold you a hammer and trained you how to use your hammer, during the day, outside in the sunlight. Imagine you bashed your thumb a couple weeks later while using the hammer, in your attic, with only a flashlight (held by your teeth), and you had to have your thumb amputated. No one is going to say Im liable for that.
 
MountainFlyer
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting yyzala (Reply 2):
The question becomes why didn't Cirrus teach this maneuver to the pilot? Is it because there wasn't enough time and told him to comeback later, and during this time the crash occured? Then no they are not responsible. But if they are supposed to teach it, but didn't, then they are quite liable....

No, they are not "supposed" to teach it, the same as the car dealership is not "supposed" to teach you that you legally need to use a turn signal before turning, or that you should slow down on ice.

The only way I see that Cirrus could or should be held liable to this is if there was something unique to Cirrus aircraft that the pilot was not taught about that was a direct cause of the crash. That is unlikely since all certified aircraft must adhere to strict standards under FAR Part 23.

It boggles my mind that there were dissenting judges, and it scares me at the same time. Should it have gone the other way, imagine the unintended consequences. The cost of purchasing an aircraft would probably increase on the order of 10-20% or more as the aircraft manufacturer would either have to verify the pilot has been trained for all possible circumstances, or else train you themselves. Think Ford having to give you a full driver's ed class if you bought a new car from them.

Quoting moo (Reply 3):
No one is going to say Im liable for that.

I would like to agree with that, but sadly, I'm sure there is a judge/jury out there who might prove that statement wrong.
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Bravo1Six
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Quoting moo (Reply 3):
(correct me if Im wrong, but you should get training on how to avoid inclement weather in VFR training, right? Because you can't go into it, you must avoid it to stay within VFR boundaries...)

In Canada, PPL training involves some instrument time so that you can live to fly another day should you inadvertantly find yourself in inclement weather (which shouldn't happen if you aren't IFR rated, but things sometimes happen). Not sure if that's also the case in the US.
 
MountainFlyer
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:07 pm

Quoting Bravo1Six (Reply 5):
In Canada, PPL training involves some instrument time so that you can live to fly another day should you inadvertantly find yourself in inclement weather (which shouldn't happen if you aren't IFR rated, but things sometimes happen). Not sure if that's also the case in the US.

Yes, it is the case in the US. FAA regulations require 3 hours of flight training on maneuvering the airplane solely by instruments including recovery from unusual attitudes in addition to ground training. However, this is the responsibility of the flight school and CFI, not the aircraft manufacturer.
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:19 pm

This is an example of why there has to be tort reform in this country. There are way too many lawyers that are purely motivated by greed and will go after anyone and anything - in this case $16 million! Cessna stopped making 172's, etc., for many years bacause they were being sued for accidents even when it was obviously pilot error but jurors would side with the "grieving" families' lawyers. The liability insurance basicaly put Cessna's light aircraft out of business. Another dumb verdict was the McDonald's customer that won their case over spilling coffee on their lap!?!

Back to the case, the pilot "had logged 248.0 hours total time, including 57.0 hours of instrument time and 18.9 hours of night flight time." There is nothing that Cirrus could have "taught' him that would have prevented his poor judgement and poor piloting skills.
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JoeCanuck
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:14 pm

Cirrus is under no obligation to only sell to those who have a pilot's licence, or to train the pilot at all. It's the responsibility of the pilot to familiarize himself with the aircraft.

Regardless, what killed him had nothing to do with the aircraft flying. To hold Cirrus liable, they would have had to at least show that this would not have happened in another aircraft.

Still, with the way product liability cases have gone in the States, I'm surprised this one was decided in favour of Cirrus.
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Web500sjc
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:29 pm

Quoting planemaker (Reply 7):
Another dumb verdict was the McDonald's customer that won their case over spilling coffee on their lap!?!

as i understand the coffee was actually too hot...but still it is generally accepted that a hot cup of joe is....HOT.
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rwy04lga
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:23 pm

Quoting Bravo1Six (Reply 5):
find yourself in inclement weather (which shouldn't happen if you aren't IFR rated, but things sometimes happen). Not sure if that's also the case in the US.

It is. Came to good use a few years after I got licensed. Scud running, was cutting it too close, was inside an ARSA and took a chance. started a gradual climb, felt a little imbalance, trusted those instruments, and popped up into blinding sunlight and headed back to HTS. Thanks to Dag Skvold, my instructor.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 6):
Yes, it is the case in the US. FAA regulations require 3 hours of flight training on maneuvering the airplane solely by instruments including recovery from unusual attitudes in addition to ground training. However, this is the responsibility of the flight school and CFI, not the aircraft manufacturer.

  

Quoting planemaker (Reply 7):
Another dumb verdict was the McDonald's customer that won their case over spilling coffee on their lap!?!

  =  =  
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DL787932ER
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:37 pm

Quote:
According to Cirrus Design/University of North Dakota records, the pilot completed the SR-22 training course on December 12, 2002. The course consisted of 4 flights for a total of 12.5 hours of dual flight instruction and 5.3 hours of ground instruction.

How much more flight training was Cirrus supposed to give the guy? He was already a licensed pilot.

The crash didn't have anything to do with the SR22 anyway. The guy would have still killed himself if he were still flying the 172, just a bit more slowly. He actually had many more tools in the SR22 that could have helped him avoid the crash, none of which he used.
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PC12Fan
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:28 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 6):
However, this is the responsibility of the flight school and CFI, not the aircraft manufacturer.

   Not looking to flamebait and playing devil's advocate here, but was this Cirrus equipped with the parachute device? Could Cirrus have trained what to do in the worst case scenario? IFR or VFR, it could be used. Making one thing clear though, I totally agree with everyone in favor of this ruling. The only one to truly blame is the pilot.

Quoting DL787932ER (Reply 11):
The crash didn't have anything to do with the SR22 anyway. The guy would have still killed himself if he were still flying the 172, just a bit more slowly.

   and    at the same time with that one!
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rfields5421
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 12):
Could Cirrus have trained what to do in the worst case scenario? IFR or VFR, it could be used.

From the Cirrus web site

Quote:
Transition Training (VFR Emphasis)

The three day Cirrus Transition course is designed for licensed pilots who wish to fly a Cirrus aircraft. The course focuses on mastering aircraft control, engine management, use of avionics, use of autopilot, and important emergency/abnormal situations in VFR conditions. Completing the Transition Training course satisfies most insurance requirements or aircraft checkout procedures for pilots new to Cirrus aircraft. This package includes 3 days of one-on-one instruction, an aircraft / avionics specific pilot training kit, and 3 hours in the flight training device.

I understand this is included in the purchase of a new Cirrus aircraft. There are some big differences between the SR-20/SR-22 aircraft and the previous aircraft of many buyers.

The SR-20/SR-22 is much faster with a more sophisticated engine - a low wing design. But the big differences are flying with sidestick controllers, not a traditional yoke, or even stick, and the glass cockpit.

Those are obviously most of the training focus.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:23 pm

Quoting yyzala (Reply 2):
But if they are supposed to teach it, but didn't, then they are quite liable....

There is no requirement for the manufacturer to provide any training; it is solely the pilot's responsibility to be properly trained for the airplane and weather in which he chooses to fly.

Quoting moo (Reply 3):
The aircraft was not faulty, the training Cirrus provided was not faulty - it simply did not cover what the plaintiffs say it should have covered, which is something that the pilot should have been trained in when he gained his VFR (correct me if Im wrong, but you should get training on how to avoid inclement weather in VFR training, right? Because you can't go into it, you must avoid it to stay within VFR boundaries...)

A VFR pilot is supposed to avoid non-VFR weather, period. It is the pilot's responsibility to do so; legally, the pilot can be sanctioned by the FAA for flying in anything less than VFR, or for even flying closer than a mile from a cloud (good luck enforcing that.) It is prudent for a VFR pilot to learn how to get out of a cloud, and most flight instructors do teach it. However, the rules do not require it.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 4):
The cost of purchasing an aircraft would probably increase on the order of 10-20% or more as the aircraft manufacturer would either have to verify the pilot has been trained for all possible circumstances, or else train you themselves.

This is exactly why Cessna ceased manufacturing piston powered planes for well over a decade; they only resumed when a fig leaf that was supposed to be tort reform passed Congress. I read once that 50% of the cost of a new piston powered aircraft went to pay for insurance premiums, and I believe it. If this precedent was established it probably would kill off piston powered plane manufacturing completely.
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:38 pm

The only reason this went to court is because of the possibility for an out of wack payout -the $16 million that the jury awarded. Of course, the law firm's specialities are:

Quote:
For over 40 years, our lawyers have tried or settled wrongful death cases resulting from automobile accidents, medical malpractice, plane crashes, and defective products.

Thank goodness this was overturned but scary that it went to the state supremem court!
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lightsaber
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:02 am

Quoting moo (Reply 3):
Cirrus did not profess to provide comprehensive training. Cirrus has no obligation in law to ensure that a purchaser is properly trained at all - this isnt about being held to the same standard as the supplier of a coffee pot, its about a car dealership not having to teach every buyer of a car how to drive, and ensuring that they pass a test, before allowing them to ever drive the vehicle.

That is exactly the point. Cirrus is not responsible for training a pilot. They offer a course to ensure pilots may handle a high performance product.

This is analogous to a local BMW car dealership offering a one day track course as part of buying a car. I was offered and I declined because:
1. No way was I taking my brand new, not yet broken in car on a track
2. It interfered with a pre-paid vacation.

I almost spun out my car accelerating into a turn with wet leaves on the ground. Oops... My fault. BMW's have the infamous 'BMW twitch' at the limit while accelerating in corners. If I had crashed, it would have been my own stupidity for initiating a maneuver beyond my driving skills for the conditions.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 14):
A VFR pilot is supposed to avoid non-VFR weather, period.

That too and file an IFR flight plan if IFR conditions are expected...

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 14):
This is exactly why Cessna ceased manufacturing piston powered planes for well over a decade; they only resumed when a fig leaf that was supposed to be tort reform passed Congress. I read once that 50% of the cost of a new piston powered aircraft went to pay for insurance premiums, and I believe it. If this precedent was established it probably would kill off piston powered plane manufacturing completely.

  

If this had passed, pretty quickly all purchasers of aircraft would have to take a month long flying course to be eligible. How many people could afford the time off, hotel, and added cost of the lessons?

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 14):
There is no requirement for the manufacturer to provide any training;

Good point. There is a HUGE difference between offered training and required training.

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mark2fly1034
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:48 am

Seems to be one of the cases where in this case the family has to try and sue everyone they can and make them at fault happens in any situation it seems.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:58 am

Quoting yyzala (Reply 2):
Quote:
Cirrus also included two days of training in the purchase price, but Prokop did not receive in-flight training that would have included a maneuver to help him recover from an emergency in inclement weather.

The question becomes why didn't Cirrus teach this maneuver to the pilot? Is it because there wasn't enough time and told him to comeback later, and during this time the crash occured? Then no they are not responsible. But if they are supposed to teach it, but didn't, then they are quite liable....

This maneuver is called "stay on the ground", not really flight training is it ?
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Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:58 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
If this had passed, pretty quickly all purchasers of aircraft would have to take a month long flying course to be eligible.

To get the picky lawyer point out of the way first: nothing was "passing" or "failing" here. As with most tort duties, the legislature isn't involved.

And to your larger point, I don't know that it's correct. To me, the question isn't what duties Cirrus owes as a manufacturer of aircraft. That's pretty much settled law. The question - and the reason the Minnesota Supreme Court was involved - is what duty a manufacturer who opts to provide training on the product owes, and that's not as settled. (My friends who do plaintiffs' work might phrase it slightly differently, as something like what duty a manufacturer who designs such a dangerous product that he must sell it with training owes.)

Remember that the US tort system defaults to no duty. Tort law generally assumes that no one has any duties to others and that people (and corporations) assume duties through their actions. To take an example for individuals, I don't owe any duty to the drivers on the street in front of my house UNTIL I choose to get in the car and drive, when I owe a duty to drive with reasonable care. Cirrus doesn't owe you or me any duties UNTIL it chooses to manufacture a product (which creates one set of duties) and give training on that product (which creates a different, though probably overlapping, set of duties).

The crucial thing about duties for this discussion is that duty is almost always a question for a judge, not for the jury. And when legal questions such as the duty owed are unsettled, appellate courts can (and should) get involved.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 15):
Thank goodness this was overturned but scary that it went to the state supremem court!

Not at all scary. It's an example of the system working as it should. The Minnesota Supreme Court is supposed to be the body that tells product manufacturers what duties they owe to Minnesotans. And here, I think the court got it right.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 15):
The only reason this went to court is because of the possibility for an out of wack payout -the $16 million that the jury awarded.

What's a death worth?
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:20 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
Not at all scary. It's an example of the system working as it should. The Minnesota Supreme Court is supposed to be the body that tells product manufacturers what duties they owe to Minnesotans. And here, I think the court got it right.

No, it shouldn't have even gone there as the pilot clearly broke VFR regs. The lawyers and family were just out for booty. And scary that two of the judges had dissenting opinions!

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
What's a death worth?

Depends... according to various sources anywhere from just over $1 million to under $3 million. But that is beside the point here... the guy broke VFR regs and even with all his IFR and night time still lost orientation and the family and lawyer tried to get &16 million from Cirrus. That is just greed.
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Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:26 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 20):
No, it shouldn't have even gone there as the pilot clearly broke VFR regs.

You are conflating the legal and factual questions. Whether Cirrus owed a duty to train is a purely legal question. Whether Cirrus' faulty training or the pilot's dumb choices (or both) caused the accident is a factual question. The Minnesota Supreme Court spoke to the former, as it should have.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 20):
But that is beside the point here... the guy broke VFR regs and even with all his IFR and night time still lost orientation and the family and lawyer tried to get &16 million from Cirrus. That is just greed.

Would you favor a return to pure contributory negligence, where someone one who is partially at fault can never recover from another in tort? The "tort reform" movement you seem to support has moved us away from that principle.
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:59 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
The Minnesota Supreme Court spoke to the former, as it should have.

No, the case should never have even seen a court room in the first place. And the fact that 2 judges dissented is scary. It is such an open and shut case.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
someone one who is partially at fault

The pilot was completely at fault... and the lawyers knew that (because they are not stupid) but with their 40 years experience of these kinds of "extortions" they were able to fool the jury into awarding an unbelievable $16 million!!
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:01 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 22):
No, the case should never have even seen a court room in the first place.

What sort of pre-filing screening do you suggest?

Quoting planemaker (Reply 22):
The pilot was completely at fault... and the lawyers knew that (because they are not stupid) but with their 40 years experience of these kinds of "extortions" they were able to fool the jury into awarding an unbelievable $16 million!!

We get paid to advise and advocate, not to believe that a case is meritorious or not. That's true on both sides.
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:21 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 23):
What sort of pre-filing screening do you suggest?

That is another discussion. My point is that the lawyers KNEW the pilot was at fault and because of GREED they wasted a lot of other peoples time, money and energy. Furthermore, if they had won (and they obviously thought that they could... well they did fool the jury!) they would have set a precedent that would have set back GA... like all those suits that drove Cessna out of the light single market as pointed out earlier.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 23):
We get paid to advise and advocate, not to believe that a case is meritorious or not. That's true on both sides.

The lawyers KNEW that the pilot was at fault but they advised the family that they would probably score a few million anyhow. I find that 'advice' repugnant.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:41 am

I have always maintained that, unless all you do is hop around the traffic pattern, you are not a safe pilot until you get an Instrument Rating. Studies, from WWII on, show that you will lose control of a manually flown airplane within 2.5 minutes of entering IMC without being trained to fly by sole reference to the instruments. It killed JFK Junior, who entered a graveyard spiral in marginal VFR at night and it will kill you, too, unless you get that Rating.
 
planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:03 am

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 25):
I have always maintained that, unless all you do is hop around the traffic pattern, you are not a safe pilot until you get an Instrument Rating. Studies, from WWII on, show that you will lose control of a manually flown airplane within 2.5 minutes of entering IMC without being trained to fly by sole reference to the instruments. It killed JFK Junior, who entered a graveyard spiral in marginal VFR at night and it will kill you, too, unless you get that Rating.

He was ready to take the flight test...

Quote:
Although Prokop had not yet obtained his instrument rating, which would have permitted him to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), Prokop was in the process of training for instrument certification. Prokop had logged more than 60 hours of instrument-flight instruction and had fulfilled all of the requirements necessary to take his instrument-flight examination.

While I don't debate that an Instrument Rating would be nice for pilots to have but it really isn't required.

Training is not done like this anymore but when I got my night endorsement in the 70's part of my training was in an Aerobat and my instuctor (ex-air force) would put us into an unusual attitude with my eyes closed and then tell me to open my eyes and recover... with a partial panel. Anyhow, long story to say that the biggest lesson was trust what your instruments are telling you and not your what seat indicates.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:19 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 7):
Another dumb verdict was the McDonald's customer that won their case over spilling coffee on their lap!?!

Actually, she almost died because of the burns she received. I saw the pictures and read the case and her injuries were horriffic.
 
DL787932ER
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:56 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 23):
We get paid to advise and advocate, not to believe that a case is meritorious or not. That's true on both sides.

Really? Would you be willing to call your state's bar association and tell them you were pursuing a civil case you did not believe to have merit because you felt an overriding duty to advocate for your client? What do you think their response would be?
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soon7x7
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:01 am

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 10):
Another dumb verdict was the McDonald's customer that won their case over spilling coffee on their lap!?!

Think she now flies a Cirrus...
 
flightsimer
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:09 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 26):
Training...

yes it is still done. I did this when I went for my private and instrument ratings and have done it since then while working on my commercial rating.
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lightsaber
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:24 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
To me, the question isn't what duties Cirrus owes as a manufacturer of aircraft. That's pretty much settled law.

The problem is that if cirrus had lost, it would have opened a flood gate of liability and the only way to defeat a future lawsuit would be to provide the training. I might not have used all the correct legal terms, but hey, I put up with a.net not using proper engineering jargon. The result is the same, it would have been detrimental to US manufacturing.

These lawsuits are why California is losing jobs. Because of the tort law in the state, my employer must hire people to ensure all of the training paper is kept current for every employee. Or... we can hire people in Colorado and Texas, give them the *same* training, but not have to hire 3 people per thousand employees to keep track of the paper. Why 3 per thousand sounds like very little... It just cost my site 400 jobs.   For it is never one legal area, but the total cost adds about $18k per employee per year.

It is the added cost of health insurance.


Note: I believe in tort law. I also believe too many large awards makes everyone in an accident treat it like they've won the lottery. It is a question of where one believes the system has gone.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
What's a death worth?

So we should all be required to carry $16million in auto liability insurance in case we kill one person? That would make driving too expensive for most. This was flying, a risky activity. I wouldn't expect my family to win $16 million if I was run over tomorrow. If I died Scuba diving, should my family sue as I don't have the latest training? I've taken multiple new buddies down and even seen two I will never dive with again because no matter the training they did stupid things.

There is no training away stupidity. This individual was a certified pilot ready for a first flight but not ready for IFR conditions or near IFR conditions. Thankfully the court ruled for that.

But if the $16 million had gone through on a technicality, it would have serious repercussions for higher performance plane manufacturing. An industry still reforming after the legal mess that shut it down.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 26):
While I don't debate that an Instrument Rating would be nice for pilots to have but it really isn't required.

Agreed. But somehow all the wise pilots I know get it...

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lutfi
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:36 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 16):
I almost spun out my car accelerating into a turn with wet leaves on the ground. Oops... My fault. BMW's have the infamous 'BMW twitch' at the limit while accelerating in corners. If I had crashed, it would have been my own stupidity for initiating a maneuver beyond my driving skills for the conditions.

Just an aside, this isn't a BMW twitch, it is a rear wheel drive twitch. It is just that almost all BMW are RWD (some are AWD, but none are FWD) Heck, there is a whole sport based on the characteristics of driving RWD ("Drifting")

My IS200 does the same in the wet - you can get the back end to wriggle or even spin if you put your foot down when turning
 
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:21 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 7):
Back to the case, the pilot "had logged 248.0 hours total time, including 57.0 hours of instrument time and 18.9 hours of night flight time." There is nothing that Cirrus could have "taught' him that would have prevented his poor judgement and poor piloting skills.

I do not believe those hours for a second, 57 hours instrument time and not even 250 total ? instrument time means flying by sole referance to the instruments, not the total time logged under ifr flight plans.

When looking at people's logbooks,if I see more than 5-10% of their total time as being instrument, I do not believe it unless there are some mitigating circumstances. I know people who do flight checking of navigation aids, that spend their lives flying instrument procedures from one airport to he next, they do not even do hat much instrument time.
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:40 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 31):
Agreed. But somehow all the wise pilots I know get it...

I don't know... I know a lot of wise pilots who don't have their IFR ticket. I got mine right after my PPL so I am not debating the merits (I have even thought at times that it should be part and parcel of getting a PPL... and it will be easier once NextGen is fully operational.)

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 31):
This individual was a certified pilot ready for a first flight but not ready for IFR conditions or near IFR conditions.

He evidently should have been ready. In case you didn't see my earlier quote, the Cirrus pilot had completed his IFR training.

Quoting zeke (Reply 33):
I do not believe those hours for a second, 57 hours instrument time and not even 250 total ? instrument time means flying by sole referance to the instruments, not the total time logged under ifr flight plans.

He didn't have his IFR ticket...

Quote:
Although Prokop had not yet obtained his instrument rating, which would have permitted him to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), Prokop was in the process of training for instrument certification. Prokop had logged more than 60 hours of instrument-flight instruction and had fulfilled all of the requirements necessary to take his instrument-flight examination.
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garpd
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:42 am

I'm surprised this went in Cirrus' favour.

I know Boeing actively save a little cash each month from their accounts to fund payouts when one of their models crashes.

Why? Because every single time one does crash, courts always find Boeing liable in one way or another. Even in cases where it is without a shadow of a doubt pilot error induced accident.

For every eventuality, some blame can always be apportioned to anyone you want.

For example, in the US, if I were to shoot myself in the foot deliberately, I could probably get a lawyer to successfully blame it on:

1. The Gun manufacturer for designing a weapon that one can shoot themselves with
2. The Shop from which I bought said gun
3. The Ammunition manufacturer, for designing and manufacturing ammunition capable of being shot at ones self.
....
....
The list goes on!
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MountainFlyer
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:53 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 14):
It is prudent for a VFR pilot to learn how to get out of a cloud, and most flight instructors do teach it. However, the rules do not require it.

It is required in the sense that all private pilots must have at least three hours of flight training flying on sole reference to instruments. That also includes recovery from unusual attitudes.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 26):
Training is not done like this anymore but when I got my night endorsement in the 70's part of my training was in an Aerobat and my instuctor (ex-air force) would put us into an unusual attitude with my eyes closed and then tell me to open my eyes and recover... with a partial panel.

While not required, I taught that way just a couple of years ago.

Quoting zeke (Reply 33):
I do not believe those hours for a second, 57 hours instrument time and not even 250 total ? instrument time means flying by sole referance to the instruments, not the total time logged under ifr flight plans.

When looking at people's logbooks,if I see more than 5-10% of their total time as being instrument, I do not believe it unless there are some mitigating circumstances. I know people who do flight checking of navigation aids, that spend their lives flying instrument procedures from one airport to he next, they do not even do hat much instrument time.

Actually, that is very believable, especially considering he was training for his instrument rating. "Instrument time" is not necessarily "actual" instrument time. It can also include simulated instrument time, or time flying with a view limiting device, also known as "under the hood." The reg says you have to be flying by sole reference to instruments. It does not say you have to be in the clouds.

If he was training for his instrument rating, it is highly likely he built up a fair bit of simulated instrument time or "hood" time while training.
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:30 am

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 36):

If he was training for his instrument rating, it is highly likely he built up a fair bit of simulated instrument time or "hood" time while training.

Didn't know he was doing that training, that is a lot of hours not to have the rating. I thought it was something like 40 hours instrument time, of which 20 has to be in flight.
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:20 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 34):
I know a lot of wise pilots who don't have their IFR ticket.

I've been flying 29 years and live on the coast (Lots of scud). I have not obtained my IFR ticket for a good reason, my personal belief if you are a recreational pilot and light use business, (aerial and transportation to jet shoots as I require) then the ticket should be avoided. I say that because if your intentions are not to fly professional and are subject to he rigors of daily IFR flying I really don't think you have any business being up in the crap in a single engine aircraft that has no real deicing capabilities. It is handy of course if you get caught but the idea is not to get caught. My rule of thumb is if any en-route weather is not worthy of me flying in a glider, then I won't fly power. I have much time flying gliders in weather that was far from perfect but clearly legal VFR. From that I learned personal weather limitations. I have been caught once (power) in an unforecasted snow squall that yielded visibility down to 500 ft. I fell back on my training and executed my 180 and returned to the field as did two others behind me.
In the last four years I have been to the funerals of three pilots buddies of mine. All were IFR rated flying complex singles. None of the accidents were mechanical. In total I have lost 6 pilot friends...three to weather conditions.
You've heard it before..."Their are Old pilots and Bold pilots but no Old Bold Pilots".

The Cirrus is a fine aircraft but as all airframes with the bells and whistles and slippery designs they do attract a faction of customers that have the time and money to play. Mooney's, Bonanzas, Cirrus, Single Saratoga's...all sweet aircraft. They remind me of the 70's when the hot Trans Ams and Camaros were so popular. Insurance companies targeted you as a high risk. Perhaps they were correct. In my experience around the New York area many "Newsday" articles about local fatal aircraft crashes involved the aforementioned types. For myself, simple/stupid...as Jimmy Buffet would say. IMHO instrument flying in any type, even a 152 is serious business when the weather and visibilty really goes down. A glass cockpit does not guarantee success. Pilot attitude does.
 
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:14 pm

Cirrus planes do have a parachute.
 
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:20 pm

Quoting DL787932ER (Reply 28):
Would you be willing to call your state's bar association and tell them you were pursuing a civil case you did not believe to have merit because you felt an overriding duty to advocate for your client?

The only hurdle we have to cross (in general) is not filing frivolous pleadings. That's a pretty low bar.

Again, I don't view this case as frivolous because there was an unsettled legal question about the scope of Cirrus' duties. When you get dissents in a supreme court opinion, that's a pretty good indication that it wasn't as clear cut as people here suggest. What I think people are missing here is that events like this can have multiple causes. The opinion that some folks have espoused here that the lack of IFR qualification was the sole cause of the crash seems like one thing that a jury could find, but no one has explained why the jury couldn't possibly have found anything different.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 31):
The problem is that if cirrus had lost, it would have opened a flood gate of liability and the only way to defeat a future lawsuit would be to provide the training.

No, again. Cirrus assumed additional duties by offering the training. The issue is what the scope of that additional duty was. A manufacturer who doesn't offer training doesn't assume that set of duties. The court ruled - rightly in my opinion - that choosing to train doesn't create a tort duty.
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:54 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 40):
Cirrus assumed additional duties by offering the training. The issue is what the scope of that additional duty was. A manufacturer who doesn't offer training doesn't assume that set of duties. The court ruled - rightly in my opinion - that choosing to train doesn't create a tort duty.

I agree with you and have regretted the irrational hysteria on this thread.

This lawsuit was NEVER about Cirrus having an obligation to provide training.

Cirrus has CHOSEN of their own free will to offer training as part of the aircraft purchase price. When they did that - Cirrus freely accepted a higher level of responsibility to new pilots than any other small GA aircraft manufacturer.

This lawsuit was about the level of training - was that training sufficient for this pilot, this case? Did the training induce the pilot to attempt something which caused the crash.

I fully agree that the Minnesota Supreme Court got it right. But even if the ruling had been for the family, it would not have resulted in a massive change in the way small aircraft are built/ sold.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 31):
The problem is that if cirrus had lost, it would have opened a flood gate of liability and the only way to defeat a future lawsuit would be to provide the training.

I disagree - the only impact would have been that Cirrus would have stopped providing the transition training. It would have no impact upon other manufacturers and type transition training.

The lawsuit I'm waiting for is the C-162 Skycatcher and a fatal spin. They lost two aircraft in testing - and after some low time pilot crashes one - I'm sure there will be a lawsuit that Cessna did not adequately correct the issues discovered in the two crashes. Though personally I think they did a great job of redesign. I'd love a chance to fly a C-162.
 
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:57 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 19):
Not at all scary. It's an example of the system working as it should. The Minnesota Supreme Court is supposed to be the body that tells product manufacturers what duties they owe to Minnesotans. And here, I think the court got it right.

Agree whole-heartedly. The system did exactly what it should have done.

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 25):
Studies, from WWII on, show that you will lose control of a manually flown airplane within 2.5 minutes of entering IMC without being trained to fly by sole reference to the instruments.

I flew once for 60 seconds with my eyes closed and didn't lose control.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 26):
Training is not done like this anymore but when I got my night endorsement in the 70's part of my training was in an Aerobat and my instuctor (ex-air force) would put us into an unusual attitude with my eyes closed and then tell me to open my eyes and recover... with a partial panel.

I did this as well two years ago when getting my PPL. Flew for 60 seconds with my eyes closed and kept the plane straight and level. Instructor said most people lose it in 8 seconds, and he had never seen someone make it past 20. After that he had me close them again and put the plane itself in an unusual attitude and I recovered.

Quoting zeke (Reply 33):
I do not believe those hours for a second, 57 hours instrument time and not even 250 total ? instrument time means flying by sole referance to the instruments, not the total time logged under ifr flight plans.

I thought the same thing. Although I didn't know he was trying for his instrument. All the more reason this guy SHOULD have been able to recover from an emergency like that.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 40):
Again, I don't view this case as frivolous because there was an unsettled legal question about the scope of Cirrus' duties. When you get dissents in a supreme court opinion, that's a pretty good indication that it wasn't as clear cut as people here suggest.

Exactly! (PS Cubs do rule!)


Now on to my own perspective. I currently fly a Cessna and I have flown a good amount in a Cirrus as well (would REALLY like to own one day). I know I am younger and the "glass cockpit" doesn't scare me because I actually like the technology, but I do not see in any way that the Cirrus is harder to recover from an undesired IMC situation than a Cessna. In fact, I think it would be incredibly easier (even with out auto pilot on).

In the end, this is exactly what should have happened in a tragic case like this. The families got to defend their point with good legal representation, and the courts made the decision they have been empowered to make.
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MountainFlyer
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:22 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 41):
This lawsuit was NEVER about Cirrus having an obligation to provide training...This lawsuit was about the level of training - was that training sufficient for this pilot, this case? Did the training induce the pilot to attempt something which caused the crash.

Actually, it was about Cirrus' obligation to provide training. The point was not that the training was insufficient, rather that he did not have it from Cirrus. Here is a copy of the MN Supreme Court ruling.

http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/sc/current/OPA101242-0718.pdf

If you look at the case, specifically pages 9 and 10, the lesson titled "IFR Flight (non-rated)" was not done, and the court was looking at whether or not Cirrus was liable for not having done that lesson.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 41):

I fully agree that the Minnesota Supreme Court got it right. But even if the ruling had been for the family, it would not have resulted in a massive change in the way small aircraft are built/ sold.

I disagree. It is never that simple. History has proven otherwise. The dissenting judges opinion speaks almost nothing of an additional assumed duty because they offered training. They speak almost solely to the precedent of manufacturers of dangerous products having a "duty to warn."

What this means is that had the opinion been reversed, the way it was written, at least in Minnesota any airplane manufacturer would have a duty to provide this training based on the precedent this dissenting judge used.
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Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:20 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
If you look at the case, specifically pages 9 and 10, the lesson titled "IFR Flight (non-rated)" was not done, and the court was looking at whether or not Cirrus was liable for not having done that lesson.

Correct, but it was based on Cirrus (arguably) assuming a duty to do so by providing training, not based on Cirrus having manufactured the airplane.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
What this means is that had the opinion been reversed, the way it was written, at least in Minnesota any airplane manufacturer would have a duty to provide this training based on the precedent this dissenting judge used.

No, the dissent is based on Cirrus assuming the duty by providing training. Have a look at the carryover paragraph between pages D-5 and D-6 (29 and 30 of the pdf).
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:31 pm

Quoting Lutfi (Reply 32):
this isn't a BMW twitch, it is a rear wheel drive twitch.

Ok. But its more fun to say BMW twitch.  
Quoting planemaker (Reply 34):
I know a lot of wise pilots who don't have their IFR ticket.

Agreed. But not in my social circle.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 34):
the Cirrus pilot had completed his IFR training.

I missed that. That is like some of my ex-Scuba buddies who thought taking deep water training made them safe.    It was following the training that made one safe. Ex-because they violated simple rules (do not surface faster than your bubbles from deep depth, surface with reserve air, and do a safety stop) and I don't dive with idiots.

The reality is, unfortunately, that a certain fraction of pilots shouldn't be pilots. I believe that is true of every hobby/profession.  
Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 38):
I really don't think you have any business being up in the crap in a single engine aircraft that has no real deicing capabilities.
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 40):
Cirrus assumed additional duties by offering the training. The issue is what the scope of that additional duty was. A manufacturer who doesn't offer training doesn't assume that set of duties.

So by doing the right thing and offering transition training for a more difficult aircraft Cirrus takes on Tort liability? It sounds like something Cirrus should outsource immediately!

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 41):
I disagree - the only impact would have been that Cirrus would have stopped providing the transition training. It would have no impact upon other manufacturers and type transition training.

Ok. But that would have been an expensive lessons learned. Too expensive relative to what was done. The penalty was far outside of reasonable.

Again, a death is worth something. IMHO, everyone should have to buy insurance for whatever that amount is. It could be life insurance or liability insurance. Unless Cirrus did something malicious (no evidence what so ever), I am unable to see the justification of that liability.

For example, if I die on the job, in addition to my other life insurance, I would get about 4X my annual income from my employer. $16M is quite a few Cirrus aircraft... Too many.

My problem isn't Cirrus being sued, it is the amount awarded and thus the disincentive to manufacture in the USA. Even if the liability came from the training, it impacts manufacturing here and we've already done too good of a job chasing jobs away. Its why we seem to be a nation of salespeople instead of manufacturing, science, and the other professions we used to be so good at.

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Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:53 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 45):
So by doing the right thing and offering transition training for a more difficult aircraft Cirrus takes on Tort liability?

The court said no. It held that the choice to provide training creates contractual duties only, not tort duties. See Pages 22 and 23.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 45):
Unless Cirrus did something malicious (no evidence what so ever), I am unable to see the justification of that liability.

Product liability hasn't been fault-based in this country for nearly half a century. Are you suggesting that strict product liability is never appropriate?

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 45):
My problem isn't Cirrus being sued, it is the amount awarded and thus the disincentive to manufacture in the USA.

What does the location of manufacture have to do with anything?
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:19 pm

To qualify, I have good friends who are lawyers (2nd oldest profession   ) so I don't think of ALL lawyers are immoral, unethical, greedy basterds (spelling from the movie  ).

A few side notes that I picked up from reading a few articles about the accident, the NTSB report and summaries of the case:

- The pilot seems to have succumbed to reverse "get homeitus"... he and his pax departed at 6:30 AM to go see their their sons play in a hockey tournament even though the weather was very marginal, it was still dark out and he flew into IMC (the crash was only 8 mins after departure).

- Cirrus claimed that the training was in essence completed... but not in the exact sequence of the syllabus. Supposed evidence for the case was based on the fact that "engaging autopilot for flight into IMC" near the end of the syllabus was not signed off on but Cirrus said that the item was incorporated into earlier items on the list and was simply just not signed off.

- A major reason that Cirrus offers the training is "really" more for enabling lower time pilots to obtain lower insurance rates than it is to actually "train" pilots... after all, how do you train good judgement. As has been pointed out by many others on this thread, nothing that Cirrus could do would have made a difference in the accident... the facts are that the pilot had completed his IFR training and had night experience and just shouldn't have lost orientation.... or even more basic, he shouldn't have forced the flight! Furthermore, "Cirrus did complete four flights accounting for 12.5 flight hours of transition training, plus 5.3 hours of ground instruction."

I know from my lawyer friends that they like to argue abstractions and legal minutiae while sometimes completely missing the obvious... "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..." it IS a duck! This case was a simple case of GREED... just about scoring big money! The pilot was completely at fault and the lawyers knew that and the utterly false training argument was just the lawyers' "legal" angle to "extort" money from Cirrus.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:23 pm

Quoting planemaker (Reply 47):
The pilot was completely at fault and the lawyers knew that

As I've tried to explain to you, we don't deal much in black and white because few cases are black and white. Other than because you say so, why is this case black and white?
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planemaker
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RE: Cirrus Not Liable To Crashed Pilot's Family

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:41 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 48):
As I've tried to explain to you, we don't deal much in black and white because few cases are black and white. Other than because you say so, why is this case black and white?

This IS black and white. The lawyers KNEW from the FACTS that they pilot should NEVER even have attempted that flight. The GREEDY lawyers tried to hang this on Cirrus "training" when they KNEW it was 100% the pilot's fault so they could try to get an exorbitant payoff.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein

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