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qf772
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:58 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:41 pm

I'm not sure about the states but in Australia and the UK, many (if not most) insurance policies include a "Subrogation" Clause. This means that under the terms of the policy you give the insurance company the right to recover funds they have paid you by sueing the negligent third party in your name.

A vastly over simplified example: Car hits your parked car. Your insurance company will pay you out because you were in the right. The insurance company will them recover their costs by going after the person who hit you.

Not knowing anything about the insurances involved I'm not saying this is what happened just putting it forward as a possibility
Eagles may soar but weasles don't get sucked into jet engines
 
Indy
Posts: 4949
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:37 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:47 pm

My flying experience is limited to a few times in my parents old Cessna and time on Flight Sim. Despite this I feel confident saying that this character has no grounds to sue anyone. If they had bothered to look at their compass they'd know they were on the wrong runway. It isn't like ATL where you would see the same reading on 5 different runways. If the lights were so poor then why wasn't the tower contacted for help? Check and double check. And if needed check again.
IND to RDU to OKC in 18 months. This is what my life has become.
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8573
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:10 pm

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 43):
Who knows if a second pair of eyes in the cab would have prevented the incident?

It's not about what could have prevented the accident. On that theory, they should sue the engine makers because, if the engines had failed on spool up, they wouldn't have tried to take off and the incident would have been prevented.

It's about who fulfilled their responsibilities and who didn't. The controller did his job, the flight crew did not do theirs. That's where it should end. It will take a decade or so of legal wrangling before the courts catch up to that, though.

Tom.
 
moek2000
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:37 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:51 pm

I just feel bad for Mr. Polehinke... The fact that he survived is a miracle, but we also need to keep in mind that he's millions of $ in debt for medical bills, lawsuits, etc.

I have a lot of doctors in my family and I'm a med student and I know medical care is expensive, especially if you're put on life support for months...Insurance can only cover so much.

I don't agree with the lawsuit, but however, I wish this guy the best of luck
 
workflyer
Posts: 166
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:49 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:07 pm

Quoting Moek2000 (Reply 55):
just feel bad for Mr. Polehinke... The fact that he survived is a miracle, but we also need to keep in mind that he's millions of $ in debt for medical bills, lawsuits, etc.

Just because Mr Polehinke is in debt up to his eyeballs does not justify him suing the ass off a party that had nothing to do with the predicament he finds himself in now.

Quoting D L X (Reply 51):
Spoken like a man who has never been seriously ill.

Since you do not know me, and you know nothing about me how did you arrive at this assumption?

Quoting D L X (Reply 51):
More like hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions. I think you need to take of your "I hate lawyers" hat and show a little compassion for a man that is probably thinking he would be better off dead.

I do not have opinions as regards lawyers one way or the other. The point I am making and I will state it again, is that the pilots put themselves in the position where the accident was inevitable by not checking they were on the runway they were cleared for. Not the tower controller nor the company that manufactures and installs runway lighting systems.
 
Cross757
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:32 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:31 pm

This is just my two cents:

Regardless of of whether the runway lights were on or off, there were plenty of clues to let the pilots know they were on the wrong runway (per the airport diagram):
1. The runway they took off from, Rwy 26, is only 75 feet wide vs. Rwy 22 which is 150 feet wide...that is half the width of what they should have expected to see.
2. Runway 22 is marked as a precision instrument runway, meaning there are the "piano keys" threshold markings, touch-down zone markings 500' down the runway, fixed distance markings 1000' down, and additional touch-down zone markings 1500', 2000', etc, down the runway. Runway 26 is marked as a basic visual runway, with just a runway number and no other markings...should be pretty obvious. Oh, and not to mention a big number that says "22" vs. "26".
3. If you look at the diagram, even though one taxiway may have been closed forcing them to take a slightly different route than normal, they would have to cross over a runway (rwy 26) to get to the departure runway.
4. They failed (as many people here have mentioned already) to cross-check the runway heading with the HSI.

In summary, a timely review of the airport diagram along with a proper pre-takeoff line-up could have prevented them from lining up on the wrong runway, lights or no lights. The crew should have been aware that the taxiway was under construction (I believe they were per the NOTAM's), and this should have prompted a more thorough review of the diagram prior to taxi to make sure they were where they were supposed to be. If there was any confusion at all, they could have requested a "progressive" taxi to the runway, or they could have chosen not to take off and queried the controller.

I fly a single-seat aircraft so I don't have the luxury of a second crewmember cross-checking everything. I have performed takeoffs and landings at unfamiliar airports at night in bad weather and poor visibility with no runway lights and only NVGs (which, contrary to what most people have heard, do NOT turn night into day) to see the runway. Is it difficult? Yes. But, the risks can be mitigated by doing thorough mission planning. Before a flight that requires doing something like that, the other members of the formation and I spend extra time reviewing the appropriate diagrams, NOTAMs, etc, and we take things slow. If something doesn't feel right, I stop the airplane and figure it out before I continue the taxi. If I am about to land, I go around, climb back up, figure out what didn't look right and why, and try it again.

So, in my opinion, there seemed to be a fair amount complacency in that cockpit that morning. There are factors that contribute to this: early morning takeoff which means a very early wake-up, perhaps a touch of "get-home-itis", and maybe some of the, "I've done this a thousand times before so I can do this with my eyes closed" attitude. Plus, I would surmise that there is a subconscious urge to get going and complete the flight because there is an airline schedule to keep, passengers need to make connections, etc. Complacency kills: period. There are many aircraft accidents that prove that.

Unfortunately, a failure to do a simple cross-check of runway heading vs. aircraft heading contributed to a fatal accident. That is very unfortunate. Do I think the copilot has the right to sue? No. Do I feel bad that he will likely have severe medical problems for the rest of his life? Yes. But it could be worse...ask any of the relatives of the passengers/crew who did not survive.

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 8):
The controller obviously wasn't paying any attention to where the airplane was when he gave the take-off clearance otherwise when he scanned the runway he would have seen the CRJ was about to use the wrong runway.

I have been directed by ground control to contact the tower and have been cleared for takeoff while still on the parallel taxiway before even getting on to the runway. The vast majority of time aircraft are cleared for takeoff while still holding short. It was not a failure on the lone controllers part that they lined up on the wrong runway. From his vantage point, it could have appeared the aircraft was on or very close to the correct runway when takeoff clearance was issued.
 
flybyguy
Posts: 1419
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 12:52 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:37 pm

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 5):
With that in hand, the FO is on good grounds to get something. Also he should be sueing the FAA and the controller personally for him not doing his part to prevent the crash. Since he was half a sleep and not even looking out the window.

He might as well sue Comair too for them not getting the updated airport diagrams to their crews.

Unfortunately, this first officer is probably in a state of sheer despiration. Unemployable and with nothing else to fall on he sues entities that have little to do with the incident at hand. It was primarily the crew's responsibility to ensure the safety of the aircraft and to make sure that the heading matched the runway... that is the most basic thing they teach you in flight training. He both he and the captain failed to confirm this and crashed the plane and killed all those people.

This guy is lucky that the families of the dead passengers aren't suing him into submission, because the only living person legally responsible for this tragedy is he.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
777STL
Posts: 2770
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:22 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:38 pm

Quoting Moek2000 (Reply 55):
I just feel bad for Mr. Polehinke... The fact that he survived is a miracle, but we also need to keep in mind that he's millions of $ in debt for medical bills, lawsuits, etc.

I'm sure he had health insurance.....
PHX based
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:13 pm

Cardinal rule of aviation...Lawyers and aviation don't mix...learned early in my flying career...we had a power pilot that walked into the idling prop of our L-19 glider tow plane, almost died and sued everyone that was working the operation that day with the exception of the actual TOW PILOT as he was a hillbilly sort and the lawyers knew he had no money. Basically the lawyer told the injured pilot you have the right to sue for your stupidity. He sued for $20,000,000. They settled for $150.00.Took five years to settle and made everyones life miserable.The OUTCOME of the flight rest solely on the decisions of the flight crew,PIC!...its in the regs.Was the crews responsibility to be FAMILIAR with the airport layout.Was also their responsibility to have Notam Updates.Whatever happened to ...Captain Goes Down with the Ship!...
 
NAV20
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:24 pm

If we're collectively going to pre-try this case on A.net, we'd better first review the available facts. These were the NTSB's findings/recommendations following this accident. Whatever else they 'determined,' the NTSB certainly did NOT just blame the pilot:-

"To the Federal Aviation Administration:

"Require that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91K, 121, and 135 operators establish procedures requiring all crewmembers on the flight deck to positively confirm and cross check the airplane's location at the assigned departure runway before crossing the hold short line for takeoff.

"Require that all Code of Federal Regulations Part 91K, 121, and 135 operators install on their aircraft cockpit moving map displays or an automatic system that alerts pilots when a takeoff is attempted on a taxiway or a runway other than the one intended.

"Require that all airports certified under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 implement enhanced taxiway centerline markings and surface painted holding position signs at all runway entrances.

"Prohibit the issuance of a takeoff clearance during an airplane's taxi to its departure runway until after the airplane has crossed all intersecting runways.

"Revise Federal Aviation Administration Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," to indicate that controllers should refrain from performing administrative tasks, such as the traffic count, when moving aircraft are in the controller's area of responsibility.

"The Safety Board reiterated two previously issued recommendations to the FAA:

"Amend 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 91.129(i) to require that all runway crossings be authorized only by specific air traffic control clearance, and ensure that U.S. pilots, U.S. personnel assigned to move aircraft, and pilots operating under 14 CFR Part 129 receive adequate notification of the change.

"Amend Federal Aviation Administration Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," to require that, when aircraft need to cross multiple runways, air traffic controllers an issue explicit crossing instruction for each runway after the previous runway has been crossed.

"Previously issued recommendations to the FAA resulting from this accident include:

"Require that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 operators establish procedures requiring all crewmembers on the flight deck to positively confirm and cross-check the airplane's location at the assigned departure runway before crossing the hold- short line for takeoff.

"Require that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 operators provide specific guidance to pilots on the runway lighting requirements for takeoff operations at night.

"Work with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to reduce the potential for controller fatigue by revising controller work-scheduling policies and practices to provide rest periods that are long enough for controllers to obtain sufficient restorative sleep and by modifying shift rotations to minimize disrupted sleep patterns, accumulation of sleep debt, and decrease cognitive performance. Develop a fatigue awareness and countermeasures training program for controllers and for personnel who are involved in the scheduling of controllers for operational duty that will address the incidence of fatigue in the controller workforce, causes of fatigue, effects of fatigue on controller performance and safety, and the importance of using personal strategies to minimize fatigue. This training should be provided in a format that promotes retention, and recurrent training should be provided at regular intervals.

"Require all air traffic controllers to complete instructor-led initial and recurrent training in resource management skills that will improve controller judgment, vigilance, and safety awareness."


http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2007/072607.htm

Here is the Aviation Safety Network summary entry. Though factually accurate, it doesn't add much to what we already know.

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20060827-0

However, if you care to click on the entry for 'Lexington-Blue Grass Airport KY' it brings up an aerial photograph that appears to show that, to get to Runway 22, you have to taxi right past the threshold of Runway 26. The ASN entry also makes it clear that the taxiway layout was changed within the week preceding the accident - it's anyone's guess what sort of signage/safeguards were put in place by the airport authorities/contractors. We should ALL bear in mind that it was dark........

Offhand, I'd say what I indicated before. The relatives of the victims have a case, the (crippled for life) First Officer has a case, the airport authorities and the contractors have a case. It's up to the courts to analyse ALL the evidence and apportion blame in due course.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
huskyaviation
Posts: 912
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:38 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:46 pm

Quoting IADCA (Reply 9):
It seems like this dude's essentially suing the light provider for a negligence tort, which implies that they had a duty to light the runways in a non-confusing manner, they breached that duty, their negligence could have caused injury, and that it actually did.

Exactly right on here. I do think, however, that AVCON probably had a duty here to design the lights so as not to confuse pilots (otherwise, who are the lights designed for?). The question here is whether that duty was breached. I haven't read all the reports and don't claim to know a lot about them, but this is probably a close enough question to at least get past the motion for a directed verdict stage.

Quoting Greasespot (Reply 18):
It could be his insurance suing and not him.......I know that there was a country star in the 80's who was in a vehicle accident and killed someone...she sued the family and it turned out that it was actually the insurance suing on behalf of her....she had no choice if she wanted the insurance pay-out...could be same thing as well...

Good point. The article doesn't say whether the insurance company is suing on the FO's behalf (which it certainly may do) or if the insurance company is paying for the FO's attorney (which it may also do). Wouldn't surprise me if either was the case. The insurance company isn't dumb--they have probably already paid out large sums and if there is someone out there that they can get to pay part of that bill, they will do it.

Quoting Wukka (Reply 48):
If you're proven negligent in a court of law, you have absolutely nothing due to you. In fact, often times you owe somebody something.

No. That would only apply in states with a contributory negligence regime in place, which means that if the plaintiff is found to have been negligent, they are barred from recovery from the defendant. Kentucky is a comparative negligence state--if the plaintiff is found to have also been negligent, their damage award is reduced proportionally by the "amount" of their negligence, usually expressed as a percentage of fault. In many states, even if the plaintiff is 90% at fault, they can still recover. Some states say that if the plaintiff is 50%+ at fault then they are barred from recovery. I don't know what version of comparative negligence Kentucky has, and I don't know where the lawsuit was filed--it could potentially be in KY, FL, or in federal court.

Quoting Wukka (Reply 46):
When it comes to this suit, I blame the chase lawyers that have had over a year to brainwash this guy into what he thinks that he thought may have possibly happened.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, because you don't know what is going on behind the scenes, who is actually involved, or what information they may have to bring a suit. It's easy to throw all the blame at the lawyers but it is most likely far more complicated than that.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:16 am

Quoting QF772 (Reply 52):
A vastly over simplified example: Car hits your parked car. Your insurance company will pay you out because you were in the right. The insurance company will them recover their costs by going after the person who hit you.

Not knowing anything about the insurances involved I'm not saying this is what happened just putting it forward as a possibility

Exactly right as far as I know, QF772. Normal practice, as far as I know, is for all the lawyers for all the likely 'liable parties' to do a deal whereby the 'ordinary' plaintiffs are compensated without delay - leaving the final decision as to 'who pays what' to be thrashed out later.

An example is the celebrated 'AA 587 Heavy' case - the aeroplane that crashed into the East River just after 9/11. As far as I know, Airbus and American Airlines (who were both 'blamed' for the crash by the investigators) are currently cooperating on settling all the 'relative compensation' cases on a 50/50 'without prejudice' basis. Once all the dependent claims have been agreed, they will negotiate (or go to court) over 'who pays' what proportion of the final bill.

Anyone who thinks that lawyers only stand up, wearing gowns and wigs, and argue the toss in court is miles off the point. The very best lawyers are usually judged on their ability to negotiate with the parties to settle cases before they even GET to court. Court hearings, because of the (inevitably huge) costs, are (or should be) the very last resort.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
j.mo
Posts: 653
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 12:29 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:25 am

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 8):
The controller's #1 responsibility is to insure the airplane's safety when under their control. The controller obviously wasn't paying any attention to where the airplane was when he gave the take-off clearance otherwise when he scanned the runway he would have seen the CRJ was about to use the wrong runway.

Geez...You have just confirmed what I suspected. You know absolutely nothing about what goes on in a tower or ATC.

You can go back to the ramp now.

JM
 
huskyaviation
Posts: 912
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:38 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:29 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 63):
Anyone who thinks that lawyers only stand up, wearing gowns and wigs, and argue the toss in court is miles off the point. The very best lawyers are usually judged on their ability to negotiate with the parties to settle cases before they even GET to court. Court hearings, because of the (inevitably huge) costs, are (or should be) the very last resort.

Amen to that. The VAST majority of cases never get to court, because they are settled by the parties beforehand. For one thing, the FO's attorney is bound by the rules of ethics--he could be disciplined severely for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. As a self-regulated profession, lawyers and bar associations don't mess around when it comes to enforcement of their ethics rules. I would give this lawyer the benefit of the doubt that there is some merit to this suit, and not just a "money grab."
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1750
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:03 am

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 54):
It's about who fulfilled their responsibilities and who didn't. The controller did his job, the flight crew did not do theirs. That's where it should end. It will take a decade or so of legal wrangling before the courts catch up to that, though.

There are other issues in the chain of events leading to the incident, there always are. I think you have a good take on the bottom line though.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
IADCA
Posts: 2246
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:37 am

Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 62):
Quoting IADCA (Reply 9):
It seems like this dude's essentially suing the light provider for a negligence tort, which implies that they had a duty to light the runways in a non-confusing manner, they breached that duty, their negligence could have caused injury, and that it actually did.

Exactly right on here. I do think, however, that AVCON probably had a duty here to design the lights so as not to confuse pilots (otherwise, who are the lights designed for?). The question here is whether that duty was breached. I haven't read all the reports and don't claim to know a lot about them, but this is probably a close enough question to at least get past the motion for a directed verdict stage.

Right on, that's exactly what I was saying. There's probably enough here to at least get this case to a jury (which says something about tort law, IMO), although there's a decent chance that even if a jury found liability it would end with a post-verdict directed verdict for defendant. The testimony of other pilots as to whether they were confused by the lighting system to any degree will be where this one turns. Basically, this case seems pretty ridiculous to a non-lawyer, but in many torts, there's no requirement of an intent to harm or anything of that nature, or a requirement that your breach of duty be the sole cause of injuries; that's just a question of damages.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:56 am

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 66):
There are other issues in the chain of events leading to the incident, there always are. I think you have a good take on the bottom line though.

Agree with the first part of that, but not with the second part, SPREE34. None of us knows enough about the circumstances to take such a decision.

Legally speaking, decisions like that are governed, in many parts of the world, by the principles of what is commonly termed 'english' common law, which is equally binding in most parts of the British Commonwealth and in the United States. The fundamental basis of that, in terms of both civil and criminal law, is contained in a very few sentences written nearly 900 years ago, in Magna Carta:-

"(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

"+ (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

"+ (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice."


http://www.bl.uk/treasures/magnacarta/translation.html

Under current US law First Officer Polehinke is entitled to all the protections embodied in those sublimely-simple phrases. Personally I'm happy that this should be so.

There are alternatives, of course. We COULD establish dictatorships in our various countries, so that the government of the time decides whether you are guilty or not. Or the system still current in too many parts of the world, where the police beat you to death the night you are arrested, thus saving the vast expense of any formal trial. We could even, with regard to aviation matters, arrange for a majority of A.net members to determine the guilt of a given pilot, if we so desired?  Smile

Not sure though that any such moves would be a step forward. As far as I'm concerned, anyway, First Officer Polehinke remains entitled to a fair hearing before being 'found guilty.'
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1750
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:49 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 68):
Under current US law First Officer Polehinke is entitled to all the protections embodied in those sublimely-simple phrases. Personally I'm happy that this should be so.



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 68):
First Officer Polehinke remains entitled to a fair hearing before being 'found guilty.'

I agree with you on both points. That being said, when the system has run it's course, I don't believe FO Ploehinke will get much. Enough for some medical issues, and that should come from the FAA. Just my opinion.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8573
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:57 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 68):
Not sure though that any such moves would be a step forward. As far as I'm concerned, anyway, First Officer Polehinke remains entitled to a fair hearing before being 'found guilty.'

He had a fair hearing. It was the NTSB investigation. And he was found "guilty" in whatever sense that word has in a non-legally based investigation.

Re: the current suit he can't be found guilty because he's the plaintiff. Only the defendant can be found guilty (unless the light company countersues, but I doubt they'd bother).

Tom.
 
D L X
Posts: 12719
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:22 am

Quoting QF772 (Reply 52):
I'm not sure about the states but in Australia and the UK, many (if not most) insurance policies include a "Subrogation" Clause.

The US has this too for most policies, I think. (mine does!) So, what we could be seeing is the insurance company saying "yeah, we'll pay for that, but you have to sue the people on this list to help recoup costs."

Quoting Workflyer (Reply 56):
Just because Mr Polehinke is in debt up to his eyeballs does not justify him suing the ass off a party that had nothing to do with the predicament he finds himself in now.

I have no idea how you can say that the tower and the lights had nothing to do with this accident when both were factors that would have intervened had they been improved.

Quoting Workflyer (Reply 56):
Quoting D L X (Reply 51):
Spoken like a man who has never been seriously ill.

Since you do not know me, and you know nothing about me how did you arrive at this assumption?

Because only someone who has never been seriously ill (as in near death) would say something like "he should have thought ahead and got insurance." He had insurance. But no one's insurance, not yours, not mine, and especially not someone making as little as commuter pilots make, would pay out the potentially millions of dollars his medical bills cost. There are lifetime limits on insurance, or no one would be able to afford the premiums. So, your saying that he should have planned better was spoken like a man who has never been in a situation where insurance said 'enough, we're not paying any more.'

Quoting Workflyer (Reply 56):
The point I am making and I will state it again, is that the pilots put themselves in the position where the accident was inevitable by not checking they were on the runway they were cleared for. Not the tower controller nor the company that manufactures and installs runway lighting systems.

I understand your point. It has merit, but the blame *might* not be 100% on the pilots. Many pilots had complained that the airport was difficult to navigate due to poor signage and lighting. The fact that most pilots didn't make a mistake does not mean that it is this pilots absolute fault that he did.

Quoting 777STL (Reply 59):
I'm sure he had health insurance.....

See above. Health insurance is not infinite, and is often exceeded by major illness.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 60):
Lawyers and aviation don't mix

What bullshit. You do realize that for every lawyer that you jump on the hate bandwagon for, there's another one in an adversarial position trying to prevent him from getting what he wants? You can't hate all lawyers, and if it were YOU involved in a plane crash, I'm sure you'd go grab a lawyer real quick. (You wouldn't wait for one to find you, just like you wouldn't wait for a doctor to tell you you're sick.)

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 61):
If we're collectively going to pre-try this case on A.net, we'd better first review the available facts.

 checkmark 

NAV20, it's easier to judge before you know any facts. That's why they do it.

Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 62):
Quoting Wukka (Reply 48):
If you're proven negligent in a court of law, you have absolutely nothing due to you. In fact, often times you owe somebody something.

No. That would only apply in states with a contributory negligence regime in place, which means that if the plaintiff is found to have been negligent, they are barred from recovery from the defendant. Kentucky is a comparative negligence state--if the plaintiff is found to have also been negligent, their damage award is reduced proportionally by the "amount" of their negligence, usually expressed as a percentage of fault. In many states, even if the plaintiff is 90% at fault, they can still recover.

 checkmark 

This is correct, and is probably key in this lawsuit.

Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 62):
Quoting Wukka (Reply 46):
When it comes to this suit, I blame the chase lawyers that have had over a year to brainwash this guy into what he thinks that he thought may have possibly happened.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, because you don't know what is going on behind the scenes, who is actually involved, or what information they may have to bring a suit. It's easy to throw all the blame at the lawyers but it is most likely far more complicated than that.

 checkmark 
 
deltadc9
Posts: 2811
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:00 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:52 am

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 5):
and the controller personally for him not doing his part to prevent the crash. Since he was half a sleep and not even looking out the window.

So you were there?

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 8):
The controller obviously wasn't paying any attention to where the airplane was when he gave the take-off clearance otherwise when he scanned the runway he would have seen the CRJ was about to use the wrong runway.

I guess you were!

Quoting Acey (Reply 11):
That sounds like the #1 responsibility of the pilots, as well. They failed.

I think "sole responsibility" would apply.

Quoting Ctbarnes (Reply 14):
Stupid question here: Can the FAA be sued, or do they have sovergn immunity?

The airport has immunity, I know that for sure.

Quoting PropilotJW (Reply 16):
He FAILED to do his job as first officer that morning and that failure led to a fatal crash.

probably true.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
First, the Controller cannot be sued, even if thge entire cause was his fault, which it was not. The Controller was doing "other duties", he was not half asleep.

Yep.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
This ex-pilot is nuts, it was his T/O, he was controlling the airplane, not the Captain. This accident was nothing but PILOT ERROR. Why? Because neither pilot was paying any attention to the airplane. No instrument cross check, no looking out the window, no questioning the ATCT why the lights weren't on, etc.

the way these things go, he could be ruled 80% at fault, that leaves 20% up for grabs.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 21):
Anybody *can* be sued. Of course, the odds of winning may be astronomical.

The Lawyer's ALWAYS win. I smell the "Heavy Hitter"  yes  , Kentuckians know who I mean....

Quoting Ftrguy (Reply 36):
I'll bet he's working pro bono as well.

Contingency is the term, and most injury claims are on contingency because they only take the cases they can win.

Quoting Pmurr (Reply 45):
The first officer was working at the time ofthe accident andis surely due something by way of workers compensation insurance or the like

Not if he is at fault.

Quoting WorkFlyer (Reply 49):
So his medical bills are up in the thousands

I bet he blew thru his annual cap before he left the hospital.

Quoting QF772 (Reply 52):
I'm not sure about the states but in Australia and the UK, many (if not most) insurance policies include a "Subrogation" Clause.

Same here. If you wreck your car and its the other drivers fault, you can turn it in to their insurance company directly or yours and they will subrogate. Unfortunately, I have plenty of experience in this area, I live in Kentucky....nuff said.

Quoting Workflyer (Reply 56):
Just because Mr Polehinke is in debt up to his eyeballs does not justify him suing the ass off a party that had nothing to do with the predicament he finds himself in now.

That is for the courts to decide. Judge not....

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 57):
that is half the width of what they should have expected to see.

OK, here's the thing, I live a couple miles form LEX. When the crash happened my Malamute woke up and got agitated and I thought he needed to go take a piss. I was outside minutes after the crash and it was very hazy, lots of condensation, and I question the actual visibility the controller had anyway.

Quoting 777STL (Reply 59):
I'm sure he had health insurance.....

With an annual cap that was exceeded for sure.
Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 519
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:02 am

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 43):
People need to realize this lack of staffing is happening everyday across the system, and getting worse.

Couldn't agree more. The real problem is that they are now hiring people "off the street" because they are having trouble filling ATC jobs with experienced people. They are having trouble filling the jobs with experienced people because they cut the pay...dramatically. Everyone at my facility is working mandatory 6 day work weeks because there is no one to cover the extra shifts...just not enough people. The outlook for the FAA ATC world looks very bleak right now.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8886
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:24 am

If I were the judge, I would sanction Ploehinke's lawyers for bringing a frivolous suit and order them to pay the lighting company's legal costs.
 
SkyexRamper
Posts: 1952
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 12:17 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:10 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 20):
First, the Controller cannot be sued, even if thge entire cause was his fault, which it was not. The Controller was doing "other duties", he was not half asleep.



Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 29):
Although the controller was not controlling multiple aircraft at the moment you can't honestly think that we are responsible for something like this. Do you think a ground controller watches every single aircraft under his control at all times to ensure they are not taxiing onto a runway or unauthorized movement area? All we can do is issue instructions and ensure a pilot reads back those instructions to ensure they understand where to go. We can't watch every plane at all moments.

All you guys really want to see only the FO fried huh..bunch of sick and twisted people. What the heck is more important.."other duties" (when the controller had stated he had been up for a long time on minimal rest) or the damn safety of the only airplane moving!? There is a reason the field is controlled, might as well close the tower if aircraft movement isn't important. Just because you give a clearance of runway heading doesn't mean squat...a safer clearance would start with the runway number. Yes sure the pilots forgot to double check their heading and their company didn't give them update to date taxi diagrams, sure lets only go after the sole survivor...sounds good in America. You guys make me sick! You can argue your points until you're blue in the face but it's all BS.
Good Luck to all Skyway Pilots! It's been great working with you!
 
billreid
Posts: 761
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:04 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:34 pm

Sorry to burst the bubble BUT this is Amerika!!
If we can sue McDonalds because they served the coffee hot then we can sue the airport and everyone else because the CUES weren't good enough.

Put differently, its easy to argue in court that if the cues would have been better then the pilots would have known where they were. The DOT report leaves that window wide open....

I see a nice quiet out of court settlement, this isn't going to get dragged through the system.
Some people don't get it. Business is about making MONEY!
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:48 pm

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 69):
He had a fair hearing. It was the NTSB investigation. And he was found "guilty" in whatever sense that word has in a non-legally based investigation.

Tdscanuck, I'm sure that you know as well or better than I do that the NTSB's job is not to apportion blame but to investigate any case from the safety aspect only. And that NTSB findings are not directly admissible as evidence in court. It has to be that way, otherwise they'd never be able to publish their reports until all the court cases were concluded - maybe ten years after any given accident. In any case, please see post 60 above, in which I quoted some of the very large number of safety recommendations they made regarding improvements to ATC procedures, aircraft equipment, runway signage etc. - two of which are possibly worth repeating:-

"Prohibit the issuance of a takeoff clearance during an airplane's taxi to its departure runway until after the airplane has crossed all intersecting runways.

"Revise Federal Aviation Administration Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," to indicate that controllers should refrain from performing administrative tasks, such as the traffic count, when moving aircraft are in the controller's area of responsibility."


In fairness to the Controller, the NTSB recorded that he was working long hours alone, tired through lack of sleep, and over-burdened with admin. tasks.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 69):
Re: the current suit he can't be found guilty because he's the plaintiff. Only the defendant can be found guilty (unless the light company countersues, but I doubt they'd bother).

That's why I put 'found guilty' in inverted commas!  Smile I meant it as a comment on the lynch-mob, 'hang 'im high!' attitude that so many contributors to this thread are exhibiting. It suits most sides of the industry for 'pilot error' to be the 'headline cause' of any accident; but there have been very few cases in which it has been found to have been the ONLY cause.

I'd have said that the ATC and signage shortcomings revealed in the NTSB Report, if they can be substantiated in legal terms by appropriate testimony and cross-examination in court, give the F/O a very strong case for proving that he was not the SOLE cause of the accident. Which is surely all we are arguing about?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
18161
Posts: 1330
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:19 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:12 pm

I am not discounting the reponsibilities of the pilots. It seemed like a series of events, atc, construction, lighting, pilot error that compounded to the crash. If even one of the events could have been removed from the equation , the crash might not have happened.

[Edited 2007-08-30 07:22:51]
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8573
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:37 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 76):
I'm sure that you know as well or better than I do that the NTSB's job is not to apportion blame but to investigate any case from the safety aspect only.

Absolutely. NTSB's job is to say what caused the crash and recommend how to not have it again. FAA's job is to maintain a safe and economical air transport system, which may or may not include implementing the NTSB's recommendations. The court's job is to assign liability and blame. Each has their role to play.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 76):
I'd have said that the ATC and signage shortcomings revealed in the NTSB Report, if they can be substantiated in legal terms by appropriate testimony and cross-examination in court, give the F/O a very strong case for proving that he was not the SOLE cause of the accident. Which is surely all we are arguing about?

He absolutely wasn't the sole cause. Aviation accidents almost never have a sole cause. However, there is a huge difference between cause and responsibility. The flight crew is responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft within the outside conditions handed to them. Per the NTSB report, the flight crew had all the data necessary to correctly discharge that responsibility and they failed to do so.

Part of any position of authority, including captain, is the assumption of responsibility. It's the flight crew, not the controller, and not the lighting contractor, that is responsible for safe operation of the aircraft.

That is a whole different ball game than legal liability...that can get apportioned all over the place. The flight crew is fully responsible for this accident; they may or may not be fully liable.

Tom.
 
zak
Posts: 1926
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:17 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:09 pm

a question related to this:

people said he is in debts by the millions due to medical bills. given that he sustained his injuries during work, is his employer not obliged to have an insurance taht covers any work related accidents and resulting costs in the u.s.?
i know that private health insurance is not regulated well, but i figured it was normal that there is an obligation to have insurance for employees during worktime?
10=2
 
Cross757
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:32 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:28 pm

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
All you guys really want to see only the FO fried huh..bunch of sick and twisted people. What the heck is more important.."other duties" (when the controller had stated he had been up for a long time on minimal rest) or the damn safety of the only airplane moving!? There is a reason the field is controlled, might as well close the tower if aircraft movement isn't important. Just because you give a clearance of runway heading doesn't mean squat...a safer clearance would start with the runway number. Yes sure the pilots forgot to double check their heading and their company didn't give them update to date taxi diagrams, sure lets only go after the sole survivor...sounds good in America. You guys make me sick! You can argue your points until you're blue in the face but it's all BS.

Aside from a little sarcasm, I don't think anyone is suggesting we "fry" the FO...who ever said that? People in this thread have simply stated reasons and theories for how this accident could have been prevented. The NTSB ruled that the main cause of the accident was the flight crew's failure to recognize that they were on the wrong runway, which is prompting debate as to why he is now filing a lawsuit against the company responsible for the runway/taxiway lighting. I take offense to you suggesting that WE are a, "...bunch of sick and twisted people." May I politely ask what your background is and do you perhaps have personal insight or experience that might shed some light as to why you feel the way you do? And what facts, opinions, or theories that have been suggested here are, in your opinion, B.S.?

The runway lights on the runway they were supposed to take off from were operational...how does that show negligence? You admit that yes, he and the captain should have double-checked the runway heading vs. the HSI/mag compass...had they done so, the accident could have been prevented. Every time I have ever received a takeoff clearance from a tower controlled airport, the takeoff clearance has always included the runway number, for example, "Callsign, turn right heading one-seven-zero, runway zero-eight, cleared for takeoff", etc. As DeltaDC9 mentioned, he lives near the airport and from his own account the visibility was poor. You seem to in large part blame the controller in the tower for not stopping the accident, but if the pilots were supposedly having difficulty seeing the runway, is it not possible that the controller in the tower was having a difficult time seeing as well?

Sure there were other factors: it was dark, the visibility was poor, the taxiway was under construction, perhaps the taxiway edge lights were out of service, etc, but again, those are all the more reason for the crew to be extra vigilant in making sure where they were on the airfield. The Captain and Copilot were responsible for the safe conduct of the aircraft and everyone on it the moment they arrived at the airport that morning and began their duties. Unfortunately, their fate was sealed the moment the throttles were pushed up to takeoff thrust. I don't want to see the co-pilot fried...I hope he gets the medical care he needs. But what has happened in our society today when people can't seem to take responsibility for their actions? And if in a court of law, it is determined that others are responsible as well, then so be it.
 
deltadc9
Posts: 2811
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:00 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:20 pm

Quoting Zak (Reply 79):
people said he is in debts by the millions due to medical bills. given that he sustained his injuries during work, is his employer not obliged to have an insurance taht covers any work related accidents and resulting costs in the u.s.?
i know that private health insurance is not regulated well, but i figured it was normal that there is an obligation to have insurance for employees during worktime?

When a workplace accident is ruled the fault of the employee in the US, the company can fight it. What they would have would be liability insurance AFAIK, and the carrier would probably fight it too. That may be what is going on here actually.
Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
 
zvezda
Posts: 8886
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:29 pm

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 81):
When a workplace accident is ruled the fault of the employee in the US, the company can fight it. What they would have would be liability insurance AFAIK, and the carrier would probably fight it too. That may be what is going on here actually.

One would expect that workman's compensation claims would not be payable if the employee's injuries were self-induced through suicidal recklessness. I would expect that the insurance company would at least consider such a defense in this case.
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1750
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:34 pm

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
You can argue your points until you're blue in the face but it's all BS.

All BS eh? If you had any knowledge of the subject at hand you would be able to make an intelligent argument, or share a contrasting point of view. As you do not know what you are talking about, you are reduced to personal attacks and declaring everyone else's arguments BS.

I think we may have a Faker amongst us.

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
All you guys really want to see only the FO fried huh..bunch of sick and twisted people.

This is what I meant by personal attacks. You accuse the other posters of thoughts and actions that none has displayed, then start the name calling. Sick and Twisted? Who in the forum has said anything sick or twisted. Reply with their statements in quotes. Prove your point/statement. I dare you.

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
There is a reason the field is controlled, might as well close the tower if aircraft movement isn't important.

Explain to us the criteria requiring a tower on the field. What? YOU don't know? Do you know where to look it up?

Who said, where is it said, that aircraft movement isn't important. A controllers responsibility IS NOT to follow every aircraft taxi progression foot by foot. If it were, you would need 50 ground controllers in the cab at places like DFW and ATL to watch each individual craft.

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
a safer clearance would start with the runway number.

This pathetic statement speaks for itself. It is also the statement that has me questioning the accuracy of your A.net profile.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 519
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:35 pm

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
All you guys really want to see only the FO fried huh..bunch of sick and twisted people.

Who said anything about wanting to see the FO fry? I just think he should accept responsibility for his actions.

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 74):
(when the controller had stated he had been up for a long time on minimal rest)

Not his fault. If anyone's fault, blame the FAA and their staffing requirements. And just so you know, its not easy getting up at 5 a.m. to work a 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift and then come back at 10:00 for a mid shift. The FAA is doing it every day.
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:57 pm

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 80):
You admit that yes, he and the captain should have double-checked the runway heading vs. the HSI/mag compass...had they done so, the accident could have been prevented. Every time I have ever received a takeoff clearance from a tower controlled airport, the takeoff clearance has always included the runway number, for example, "Callsign, turn right heading one-seven-zero, runway zero-eight, cleared for takeoff", etc.

Didn't happen in this case, Cross757 - in fact, they got their first take-off clearance from 'Ground Control' before they even started taxiing (I imagine that that was the same guy who was acting as Controller, wearing his 'ground control' hat):-

"06:02:01.3 - RDO-2 Comair one ninety one is ready to taxi we have ALPHA.
06:02:03.8 - GND Comair one ninety one, taxi to runway two two. altimeter three zero zero zero and the winds are two zero zero at eight.
06:02:08.9 - RDO-2 three triple zero and taxi two two, Comair one ninety one.
06:02:12.6 - GND Eagle flight runway two two, cleared for takeoff."


Then they got a further clearance after they'd lined up. Maybe interesting that it was the Captain, who was the 'Pilot Not Flying,' who confirmed the lineup check. The Controller was busy handling other traffic, he was offering another aircraft a course change to avoid weather before Comair even started their takeoff run:-

"06:05:01.9 - HOT-2 uuuh, cabin report's received, CAS clear, ** before takeoff check's complete, ready.
06:05:12.6 - HOT-1 all set.
06:05:15.1 - RDO-2 "churliser" [at your leisure spoken very fast] Comair one twenty one ready to go.
06:05:17.7 - TWR Comair one ninety one, Lexington uh, tower, fly runway heading, cleared for takeoff.
06:05:19.2 - HOT-? *.
06:05:21.0 - RDO-1 runway heading, cleared for takeoff, one ninety one.
06:05:23.7 - HOT-1 and line-up check.
06:05:25.1 - TWR Eagle flight eight eighty two, that heading work for you, do you wanna go uh, northwest around the uh, weather that's ahead of you?
06:05:30.7 - E882 no that looks fantastic. thank you very much."


You can read the whole CVR transcript from the link in here if you like - not that it takes us much further.

http://propilotnews.com/2007/01/coma...-5191-cvr-transcript-released.html

Never mind lawyers - the people I'D like to see in court sometimes are the accountants who make sure that everyone in aviation nowadays is working long hours for low pay, and 'multi-tasking' with no backup......
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:22 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 70):


Lawyers are about money...nothing more, nothing less, they are bottom feeders,some are good and some aren't, WE ALL NEED LAWYERS, from time to time...like it or not,but when a pilot screws up and death is a result and he initiates a lawsuit!....so tell me, if he wins his case does that prove he was NOT accountable for his actions or lack of them as PIC.I just lost a fifth friend to an aircraft accident this past weekend, I flew last night searching for him and or his aircraft, but one thing for sure, he took off in extremely adverse weather conditions and now he is gone...so you tell me , should I go grab a lawyer and SUE PIPER...so that Piper can't afford to produce aircraft for ten years just like Cessna? WHY DO YOU THINK AVIATION IS SO EXPENSIVE? Frivilous litigation!!!...He made a bad decision that ended his life and luckily no one elses.Would a good lawyer and successful case change the fact that his decision to fly ended in his termination. NO!...All I see from you is your opinning about everyone elses experiences...I love the sound of airplane noise but many times, human noise annoys me...shut up!
 
Cross757
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:32 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:11 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 85):
Didn't happen in this case, Cross757 - in fact, they got their first take-off clearance from 'Ground Control' before they even started taxiing

Interesting...

Perhaps some of our fellow enthusiasts who have experience in ATC could shed some light on this: is it procedure or just technique to include the runway number in a takeoff clearance? Or perhaps is it not required when it is considered intuitive, such as an airport with only a single runway and/or the aircraft is already in position and holding on the runway?

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 85):
Maybe interesting that it was the Captain, who was the 'Pilot Not Flying,' who confirmed the lineup check.

Another question for those here who have experience flying "crew" aircraft: what is the common breakdown in responsibilities between the pilot-flying and the pilot-not-flying? I would guess the PNF (I apologize if I am not using the correct terminology/acronyms) handles the radios, FMS inputs/changes, while the PF flies the aircraft (obviously) and makes adjustments to the autopilot (course/heading selector, altitude hold), etc?

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 85):
Never mind lawyers - the people I'D like to see in court sometimes are the accountants who make sure that everyone in aviation nowadays is working long hours for low pay, and 'multi-tasking' with no backup......

I concur...anything to save a dime, right? My brother is a Captain for a regional airline and he tells me stories of short overnights with min sleep. My personal experience is mostly in single-seat aircraft, and by military regulation, I am required to have 12 hours of "pilot rest" between flight duty periods, which includes the opportunity for 8 hours of "uninterrupted" rest (i.e. the opportunity to sleep). Noted I said "opportunity"...what a pilot does on his free time is his own business, and we rely on the individual pilots' own integrity and judgement to know when they have had adequate rest. I wonder if the crew of Comair 121 had a short overnight? Anyone?
 
D L X
Posts: 12719
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:26 am

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 86):
Lawyers are about money...nothing more, nothing less

Um... and pilots aren't? And photographers aren't? You wouldn't do it for free, and I have a mortgage/rent to pay just like you. Your attitude towards lawyers is pretty disgusting. But hey, it's fashionable to hate lawyers, so feel free to follow the crowd.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 86):
if he wins his case does that prove he was NOT accountable for his actions or lack of them as PIC.

Well, you have to understand that it's not like a criminal case where the person is either guilty or not guilty. This is a civil case, where the court will determine who was at fault, and /IN WHAT PERCENTAGES PEOPLE WERE AT FAULT. In other words, the court may rule that the accident was 90% the pilot's fault, and 5% the ATC's fault and 5% the lighting manufacturer's fault, etc. If that were the case, he might still call it a "win" if he's able to prove that 10% of the fault lied with someone else. Does that make sense? If not, I'll try to explain it again differently.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 86):
WHY DO YOU THINK AVIATION IS SO EXPENSIVE? Frivilous litigation!

Bullshit.

Aviation is expensive because planes are expensive. Aviation is expensive because fuel is expensive and planes use a lot of it. Aviation is expensive because training pilots is expensive. Aviation is expensive because insurance is expensive. Aviation is NOT expensive because of lawyers, so please come down from your high horse.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 86):
I just lost a fifth friend to an aircraft accident this past weekend

My condolences for your loss. I've lost friends too. I think in time your emotions on the issue will allow you to see a different view on this. Grieving is the worst pain in the human experience, and I hope that yours ends quickly.
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:38 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 88):

DLX...not trying to start a war over my opinion of lawyers, good or bad.I've got two firends that are damn good lawyers,one I would never hire, one I already have and have an incredible level of high regard for.And so do the courts...and he is also a pilot...many are... My point is that today, generally speaking, individuals don't seem to want to be accountable for their own actions...if they screw up they feel a lawyer will make all the bad go away.Thats my argument...when I signed on to be a pilot,I ACCEPT the inherent risk involved. That is my decision. If I screw up and cause injury, death to myself or my passengers, then I expect to be sued,I will anticipate having to retain an attorney to rep me,that is my funeral...all the success in a courtcase is not going to irradicate the fact that I caused the incident.Thank you for your condolences, I lost a very good flying Bud,who by the way flew every day, flew in all kinds of slop,very capable and experienced...just dissapeared...pooof*...gone...we now have the Air Force, FAA, Coast Guard...all looking.If you go to Jetphotos .net you will see an air to air shot I took from his aircraft which was a PA-32...read the captain underneath...it was hairy...as far as my high horse...doesn't exist...just believe in fairness...I very rarely contribute to these forum thingies as I travel much and do not have the time...some of these things get pretty heated up! We are all right, we're also all wrong ,but none of us are experts, my opinion of an expert is someone that is 100% knowledgable of their field...my feeling is few exist...Reference photo ID# 5883654,shot from the lost plane N5067T
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:59 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 88):

Forgot...one more point...Sure fuel is expensive...wasn't always though, Airplanes are expensive...WHY?... the certification process,design,research and development, testing and finally manufacturing.The paper work and ultra high standards for manufacturing are all results of previous incidents, accidents, catastrophic failures,court cases and lawsuits.That is why aircraft are so expensive. One of my clients that designs, fabricates and installs custom private jet interiors must on every interior, send out strike-offs (samples) of all the materials he is using on that airplane...even if he used the exact same materials on the previous ten jobs, he must do this every time, they test the materials for fire blocking, you and I know that jets are firetraps, the interior cabin in a fire can reach up to 2000F in some cases and the plastics onboard yield cyanide when burned but the reason for fire blocking is to give passengers a ninety second edge to get out during an emergency, this standard was set as a result of many accidents and unfortunate deaths but we are safer as passengers because of it all. All that testing and paper documentation is very time consuming, and expensive. They don't have those standards in boat building or housing. Go to home depot and buy a stainless steel bolt, lets just say 1/4x20...$3.00, then go to West Marine, by the same bolt...$5.75...now order it from Boeing...$35.00 and five pieces of paper with all kinds of spec info, cert info.Without all the paper, part is useless an NOT AIRWORTHY.Thnx for sparing...a good sword fight is fun every once in a while...j
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:19 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 88):

You're eplanation of percentages in a court case makes perfect sense to me if this case was the result of an NTSB or FAA investigation but originating from one of the crew members that caused the accident to me is entirely different.From a pilots perspective, as outlined in the FAR's...it is the sole duty and responsibility of the pilot or pilots to be FAMILIAR with the airport, it's layout and any and all Notams, bulletins...anything and everything about ongoing construction...inop runway/taxi lights etc.It is according to the FAA, very black and white.If NO Notams were issued,I suppose he then has a leg to stand on.One reason why I don't get involved with these forum things I see people getting heated up over speculation and very little facts...the only thing I'm sure about here is the responsiblitiy of the Pilot in Command.
 
ajd1992
Posts: 2390
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:11 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:59 am

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 12):
I'm sorry, but that's taught at even the Private Pilot level, and especially emphasized during the night flights.

ALWAYS confirm runway heading against aircraft heading.

I sympathise with the guy, but this is what it boils down to. Even though I learn at a single rwy airport, I check the HSI firstly, to check it's pointing the right way (usually 270) and not pointing something stupid, but secondly, to make sure i'm at the correct end of the runway. (Impossible that i'm not because the GA apron is at the end most dep/arr traffic uses, but i still do it).

I've got 3 hours and i do that. This guy must have had at least 1500 hours, no excuse as much as i feel sorry for him.
 
D L X
Posts: 12719
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:07 am

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 89):
My point is that today, generally speaking, individuals don't seem to want to be accountable for their own actions...

I agree with that! 100%, but I won't apply that thought with such a broad brush. I strongly disagree with this:

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 89):
if they screw up they feel a lawyer will make all the bad go away.

If there's no case, a lawyer won't take it. Instead, he or she will tell the client that it is not worth it to pursue. What's more is that a lawsuit is not used only as a tool to make someone go away. Read on:

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 91):
You're eplanation of percentages in a court case makes perfect sense to me if this case was the result of an NTSB or FAA investigation but originating from one of the crew members that caused the accident to me is entirely different.

Imagine being involved in some sort of incident where you were partially or even mostly to blame. You ask the other people involved to pay their share for their failures, and they say "no." Don't you think that those others should be forced to pay their share?

Similarly, I'm sure you've heard the expression "an accident waiting to happen." That's called foreseeability, and it is the hallmark of our tort law. If it is foreseeable that someone will be hurt and you have a duty to prevent harm, you are at least partially responsible for any harm that was caused by your not fixing a dangerous condition. Even if that person in other contexts has responsibility.
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:21 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 93):

The type case you refer to is not in my opinion, comairs case, but is absolutely another one of my client's case which was the recent midair over Brazil which the other day stirred up so much bruhaha, they locked the thread. I'm obviously not a lawyer , you apparently are more involved, I would never pretend to know the law as it is incredibly complex and always subject to change and interpretation.BUT...isn't aviation law handled on a different level than street law?In my client's case...two Pilots performing a delivery flight in a brand new aircraft in a foreign country have an ACCIDENT (midair) with a brand new 737/800.Both new equipment, both new young crews,middle of the Amazon,who would of thought, total loss of one hull and total loss of passengers with the 737. Both crews possibly distracted by cockpit full of new goodies and to some degree some unfamiliarity,while under ATC control.I'm sure you know the case...That is an absolute case where I agree with you that their exists culpability factors, eqpt / manufacturers,etc...I mean everyone going to sucked into that vortex.Probably take ten years to figure out... I was freelance photographer on the TWA 800 case for three months. Immediately after incident attorneys were handing out biz cards at JFK htels where family members were staying.I couldn't believe my eyes.I have covered other aircraft incidents as well with same ...grieving families were getting real angry...I see what your saying, but in this comair case just don't see how anyone else is to blame...If a pilot can't discerne the difference between a taxiway and a runway while in the rain, fog, at night, with snow and ice, with lights or without...He should abort intention to fly.CRJ light fixtures are inboard and very close to centerline of pilots vision.We'll agree to disagree I suppose on this but actually interesting seeing other point of view...j
 
D L X
Posts: 12719
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:03 am

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 94):
The type case you refer to is not in my opinion, comairs case,

I don't think it is. Take a look at this thread, where a pilot said that due to the construction at LEX, this was an accident waiting to happen: Comair Accident From Pilot's View (by Socalfive Sep 1 2006 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 94):
isn't aviation law handled on a different level than street law?

Tort law is tort law, whether it is in the air, on the sea, under ground, or in a box with a fox and a cat with a hat.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 94):
Immediately after incident attorneys were handing out biz cards at JFK htels where family members were staying.

I know that that sounds disgusting to some, and it's a practice I probably wouldn't do. But think about it: when a big storm blows through and everyone's roofs are damaged, are you equally disgusted by roofers going around your neighborhood advertising their ability to repair your roofs?
 
soon7x7
Posts: 2267
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 10:51 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:05 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 95):

Now for a minute don't be a lawyer (no offense)...and don't be an aviator... be a human, BIG difference between shattered roofs and splattered family members...Your LEX link was very informative which helps me understand your perspective, I had a similar event, ironically with the pilot that just died in the same aircraft,we were on our way to some field in NJ , he flew the left seat and had communications control as my yoke had no mike switch installed, I could hear equally both sides of communication so I flew the plane accordingly, we were vectored around for our approach to whatever field it was, then we were cleared for a straight in on runway 24....as we continued I noticed traffic on a right base (off our 2 o'clock) headed towards us at same flight level.As we came up to short final,I noticed runway numbers reflected 23,NOT 24, at this point we were commited to runway(cherokee six with old hockey stick wings comes in fast)I realized we landed at wrong field AND cut off other traffic in doing so.That was our screw up! After trip to the tower , words with ATC and flight instructor and student, no big deal became of it,Tower chief said it happens almost every day! Problem was the airport we were cleared to was in line with another airport, our intended field was another five miles further.At the time we were flying into hazy sun.We just had a visual on the wrong field.That was a situation that was so easy to avoid by looking at our sectionals and looking for the potential boogie man the gets you every once in a while.Should I blame the towns that laid out the airports...I think not...Was it one of those situations that we call an accident waiting to happen?...yep...Is it an Iceberg looking for a Titanic?...yep...It was our responsiblity to know that the potential for visually identifying the wrong airport existed upon our arrival to that area.We flew home with our tails between our legs in shame.Yet a big lesson was learned by both that day.
 
Boeing727flyer
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:36 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:22 am

I actually also feel sorry for this poor guy. Yes he made an error and a huge error and he is suffering for it and will do for the rest of his life. He will get sued by every passengers relatives on that flight, but how does he pay his medical bills ofr the years to come.
Hail the mighty Boeing 727
 
NAV20
Posts: 8453
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 3:25 pm

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:30 am

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 96):
be a human, BIG difference between shattered roofs and splattered family members...

Yes and no, Soon7x7. On the one hand all individual cases differ, even if they seem at first sight to involve similar circumstances. But on the other hand, all cases have things in common; the most notable similarity being that, at first, usually no two people can agree on what actually happened, even if they SAW it happen.

Inevitably, this leads to disputes - especially since money is always involved at the end, the issue of 'who pays?' You COULD bring all the potential litigants together, give each one a baseball bat, and let them fight it out, with the money going to the last one standing - but that would hardly be productive as it would just give rise to a whole lot more litigation.  Smile

Like it or not, all compensation claims boil down to arguments and disputes between the parties. The only way to sort those out is to put them in court (without weapons!) and argue the thing out before an impartial judge (who, by the way, is also one of those **** lawyers). When your car breaks down you need a mechanic; when you're involved in a legal dispute you need a lawyer. The legal profession is a job like any other - no more, no less.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 96):
As we came up to short final,I noticed runway numbers reflected 23,NOT 24, at this point we were commited to runway(cherokee six with old hockey stick wings comes in fast)I realized we landed at wrong field AND cut off other traffic in doing so.

OK - you made a flying mistake (potentially quite a serious one) - welcome to the club, I've made mistakes too, in the air and on the ground, just like you. But there were no serious consequences for either of us. First Officer Polehinke wasn't so lucky.

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 96):
Problem was the airport we were cleared to was in line with another airport, our intended field was another five miles further.At the time we were flying into hazy sun.We just had a visual on the wrong field.

So you're saying that the mistake was due to poor visibility? Know the feeling! Do you think that the same sort of 'mitigating circumstances' may have applied to Polehinke?

Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 96):
After trip to the tower , words with ATC and flight instructor and student, no big deal became of it,Tower chief said it happens almost every day!

So you were lucky - no-one made an issue of it. Suppose that they had made a formal complaint and there was a risk that you'd lose your licence? Would you just have accepted that, said philosophically that you had indeed made a mistake and that it was best for everybody that you should be prevented from flying any more? Or would you maybe have hired a lawyer to defend you and maybe negotiate a lesser penalty?  Smile

Not trying to 'get at you' - just trying to clarify the role of judges and lawyers in our society. The moment we stop having arguments and disputes, own up straight away to any mistakes we make, accept any penalty that is imposed, and give any aggrieved party as much compensation as they demand, there'll be no more need for lawyers.

But until that day dawns, judges and lawyers have a role in helping us to argue out and settle the disputes that most of us get involved in from time to time. The law is a job like any other; and arguably a lot more essential than many jobs.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
Mir
Posts: 19491
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:55 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 88):
Bullshit.

Aviation is expensive because planes are expensive. Aviation is expensive because fuel is expensive and planes use a lot of it. Aviation is expensive because training pilots is expensive. Aviation is expensive because insurance is expensive.

And insurance is expensive because manufacturers have been sued on the past. The GA industry was all but shut down by liability constraints until Congress finally put some limits on it. Even so, there is still a lot of liability in the system, which drives up costs.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 85):
Didn't happen in this case, Cross757 - in fact, they got their first take-off clearance from 'Ground Control' before they even started taxiing (I imagine that that was the same guy who was acting as Controller, wearing his 'ground control' hat):-

"06:02:01.3 - RDO-2 Comair one ninety one is ready to taxi we have ALPHA.
06:02:03.8 - GND Comair one ninety one, taxi to runway two two. altimeter three zero zero zero and the winds are two zero zero at eight.
06:02:08.9 - RDO-2 three triple zero and taxi two two, Comair one ninety one.
06:02:12.6 - GND Eagle flight runway two two, cleared for takeoff."

If you'll notice, that takeoff clearance was for an American Eagle plane, not the Comair. The same Eagle plane was referred to later in the transcript right after the Comair was cleared for takeoff (which was once they were at the runway, albeit the wrong one).

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
drgmobile
Posts: 989
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:06 am

RE: First Officer Survivor Of Comair Flight Sues

Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:10 pm

I just watched an episode of Mayday on the Tenerife disaster. The co-pilot spoke of "our passengers" as if they were part of his extended family and had an obligation to look out for them.

Times are not the same.

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