Recent Developments

Speiser Krause in the News and Recent Developments

Monday, February 10, 2020

NTSB releases Investigative Update into the Crash of Island Express Holding Corp. Sikorsky S-76B N72EX on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California

On February 7, 2020 the National Transportation Safety Board released its first formal Investigative Update into the Sikorsky S-76B crash that killed eight passengers and the pilot on January 26, 2020.  Parties to the investigation include the operator of the flight, Island Express Helicopters; the Federal Aviation Administration; the airframe manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation; and representatives from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.  The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (as an accredited representative) and the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada (as a technical adviser) are also participating in the investigation.  A copy of the Investigative Update can be found here. 


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Friday, January 31, 2020

Update Regarding Crash of Island Express Holding Corp. Sikorsky S-76B N72EX on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California

On January 26, 2020, eight passengers along with the pilot were tragically killed when the Sikorsky-76B aircraft they were travelling in crashed into mountainous terrain at an altitude of roughly 1,085 feet above sea level near Calabasas, California.  Early reports indicate that weather may play a critical role in the accident investigation as the aircraft encountered dense fog in the minutes leading up to the crash.

The helicopter took off on the morning of Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 9:06 a.m. from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, carrying the eight passengers who were travelling to a youth basketball game that was to take place at a sports academy located in Thousand Oaks, California. Passengers included NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who owned the sports academy, and his daughter, as well as other players on the youth team, their family members and their coach.  The aircraft was operating under visual flight rules (“VFR”), meaning that it was intended that the flight was to take place in clear skies allowing the pilot to operate the aircraft with visual reference to the ground and by visually avoiding obstructions and other aircraft, without totally depending on navigational instruments. 


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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Update Regarding Boeing B17 Crash at Bradley International Airport on October 2, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) released its preliminary findings regarding its continuing investigation into the Boeing B17 crash that occurred on October 2, 2019 at Bradley International Airport located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  This is the first of three reports that the NTSB will issue in connection with its accident investigation.  The second and third reports, known as the Factual Report and Final (or Probable Cause) Report, will likely not be issued for at least another 18 months.


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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Speiser Krause Monitoring the Investigation into the Crash a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Vintage World War II Aircraft

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at approximately 10:00 a.m. a vintage Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress World War II era aircraft crashed at the Bradley International Airport located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, killing 5 passengers and 2 crew members.  5 other passengers and the flight engineer were seriously injured, as was a ground based airport worker.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mid-Air Collision of Sightseeing Float Planes in Ketchikan, Alaska


On May 13, 2019, two de Havilland sightseeing float planes collided in mid-air near Ketchikan, Alaska as they were touring Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument which is part of Tongass National Forest.  Six people died as a result of the collision and 10 people have been admitted to hospitals with significant injuries.  The float planes were carrying passengers from the cruise ship Royal Princess operated by Princess Cruises.  The larger of the two aircraft, a de Havilland DHC-3, Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) Registration Number N959PA, commonly referred to as a de Havilland Otter, was carrying 10 passengers and a pilot.  The aircraft was operated by Venture Travel LLC doing business as Taquan Air, a sightseeing air tour operator that operates in an around Ketchikan, and owned by Pantechnicon Aviation, Ltd.
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Thursday, April 4, 2019

April 4, 2019 Update Regarding the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

The Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau released its Preliminary Report in connection with the ongoing investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.  A copy of the Preliminary Report can be found here

The Report raises serious issues with Boeing’s design of the 737 Max fleet, especially with respect to the aircraft’s ability to interpret and properly process airspeed information, the aircraft’s angle of attack sensors and the automatic anti-stall system known as the M.C.A.S.  Indeed, given the similarities between the two recent 737 Max aircraft tragedies, namely that improper airspeed indications, angle of attack sensors and the M.C.A.S. played a role in each crash, we believe that the aircraft must remain grounded until the “fixes” proposed by Boeing are thoroughly vetted and undergo stringent independent analysis to ensure that no tragedy like this ever occurs again.  Further, we feel it is important to fully investigate and analyze Boeing’s role in the certification process that allowed these defects to make their way to the flying public.


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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019 Update Regarding the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

In the wake of the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610, the United States Department of Justice has opened a potential criminal investigation concerning the manner in which the fleet of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 Max aircraft (the “737 Max aircraft”) was certified.  On Monday, April 1, 2019, a federal grand jury served a subpoena on a former Boeing flight control engineer seeking all documentation related to the 737 Max aircraft.  This was at least the second federal grand jury subpoena issued in the context of the criminal probe. 


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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Second Update Regarding the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the United States and Canada each issued emergency orders grounding the fleet of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 Max aircraft (the “737 Max aircraft”).  A copy of the FAA’s Emergency Order can be found here.  The emergency order permits those aircraft currently in the air to proceed to landing at their intended destinations but once the aircraft has landed, they will not be allowed to engage in further flight until aviation authorities lift the emergency orders.  The air carrier, however, may apply for non-passenger special ferry flight permits to move the aircraft for storage, modification, testing or maintenance.


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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Update on the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

In the aftermath of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, numerous aviation authorities throughout the world have called into question the safety of the 737 Max 8 model aircraft.  Although the Federal Aviation Administration and The Boeing Company have issued statements attesting to the aircraft’s safety, foreign aviation authorities are justifiably concerned that the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 share a common causal connection.  As a result, various foreign countries, and airlines, have grounded the 737 Max 8 fleet until more information is known regarding the causes of each crash.  China, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, India and the European Union have each banned the 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating within its borders or airspace.  A copy of the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the European Union prohibiting the 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating in Europe can be found here.  In fact, the only two governments continuing to allow the aircraft to operate within their borders or airspace are the United States and Canada.


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Monday, March 11, 2019

Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

On March 10, 2018 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after take-off, tragically killing all 157 passengers and crew.  The flight departed from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia bound for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.  Citizens from at least 32 different countries were on board, and many were employees of the United Nations who were travelling to Kenya to participate in an environmental conference. 


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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Preliminary Report Released by Indonesian Aviation Authorities

Indonesian authorities released a preliminary report regarding their findings into the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.  As mentioned in prior posts, early reports indicated that accident investigators were focusing on the aircraft’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (M.C.A.S.) which is an automated system designed to prevent the aircraft from entering an aerodynamic stall.  The preliminary report confirmed that this was the investigators’ focus, although the report stated that it was still too early to identify a specific cause for the crash.


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