Air shows are extremely popular nationwide. Entire families turn out to see planes perform maneuvers at relatively close range. It can be an amazing experience for all involved and often engenders even greater respect for the members of the military performing in the shows. Unfortunately, one air show resulted in a veteran stunt pilot getting killed and the family filing a wrongful death claim.
The pilots in these air shows are very highly trained, but they are not the only ones needed to make it a success. Just as important are the crews on the ground, whose jobs include responding quickly to any problems, including life-threatening emergencies. In this case, the family claims that crews did not respond quickly enough when the pilot was trapped in a burning aircraft.
He died at the Air Force base after crashing in the plane he was piloting as part of the “Thunder Over Solano” air show. The plane, a Boeing E75 Stearman biplane was attempting an upside-down pass when it hit the ground. It then skidded into a field and caught fire.
The pilot died as a result of that. In the wrongful death claims filed by the family, $20 million is sought on behalf of the pilot’s wife and sons. The claims say that emergency crews did not respond quickly enough when the crash happened, and that they should have freed the pilot from the burning aircraft faster.
In this case, Air Force base officials have declined comment. Of course, in any wrongful death case, causes of death and culpability will need to be addressed. Anyone facing these issues in a wrongful death case can address them with the help of an experienced attorney.
Source: Sacramento Bee, “Family seeks $20 million in Travis air show death” Darrell Smith, Jul. 16, 2014