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Shapiro & Appleton

Landing Gear Failure Appears to Be Cause of Fatal Plane Crash

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According to initial reports, failure of the landing gear was the cause of a small plane crash that killed the 62-year-old pilot. The fatal crash occurred at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, Tennessee.

The victim was the only occupant in the plane at the time of the crash. Authorities say he was practicing his flying skills, particularly landing maneuvers, and was practicing what is referred to as “touch-and-go” procedure. This is when the plane takes off, makes a circuit around the airport, lands, and then takes off again.

As the victim attempted to land, the landing gear of the plane was not down and the plane’s propeller struck the runway, then rose into the air before it came crashing down approximately 15 feet from the runway and burst into flames. A witness to the crash reported hearing a “loud pop” and then quiet right before the plane crashed.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records have the plane listed as a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, and owned by the crash victim. According to statistics from the Flight Safety Foundation, there have been 349 plane crashes involving Beechcraft Bonanza planes since 2007.

This is the second aviation accident to occur in Sevierville County in two months. In April, a North Carolina woman, along with her daughter, son, and daughter’s boyfriend, were killed when the sightseeing helicopter they were riding in crashed. The pilot was also killed. It could be almost one year before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announces what caused that accident.

The NTSB said it should have a preliminary report on the plane crash within seven to 10 days. A final report will most also likely take one year, just as in the helicopter crash.

If you have had a family member killed in a plane crash, contact an experienced North Carolina aviation attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for the pain and loss your family has suffered. Serious issues such as a malfunction or defect in the plane, pilot or air traffic control error or negligence, and even utility wire strikes are possible causes of a wrongful death aviation claim.

Randy E. Appleton
Elizabeth City & Outer Banks Personal Injury Lawyer
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