The Lietz Law Firm Remarks On Connecticut Plane Crash

Law Firm Newswire



Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) September 25, 2013 – A small airplane crashed into a neighborhood in East Haven, Conn., killing four people.

William Henningsgard, of Medina, Wash., was flying the plane with his son Maxwell, 17, aboard when it went down at 11:21 am on August 9, 2013. It crashed into a home on Charter Oak Avenue occupied by Sade Brantley, 13, and Madisyn Mitchell, her one-year-old sister.

“Even small planes can create catastrophic damage when they crash at high speeds,” said Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney David Lietz. “As evidenced by the fact that these two girls were not safe even inside their home.”

According to a preliminary report on the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the plane went down 0.7 miles from its destination, Tweed-New Haven Airport. Eyewitnesses reported the plane was upside-down and travelling at a high rate of speed as it plummeted to the ground. The pilot had radioed to say he was within sight of the airport.

One witness was a student pilot travelling nearby on Interstate 95. He reported seeing the airplane in a right roll and heading quickly downward nose-first. The NTSB report noted southerly winds at 12 knots, gusting to 19 knots, with 9 miles visibility. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The NTSB each year releases a “Most Wanted List” of its top ten safety advocacy priorities for the nation’s transportation and infrastructure. This year’s list includes an entry for improvements to general aviation safety. According to the report, the NTSB investigates some 1,500 general aviation accidents involving over 400 deaths in an average year.

The safety board recommends improvements to pilot training. For example, pilots should have access to simulators with avionics displays specific to the airplanes they fly, the board says. A recent study showed that so-called “glass cockpits,” consisting of electronic instruments, offer no statistical safety advantage when compared with traditional analog instruments.

“General aviation – that is, non-commercial flight – accounts for a disproportionate number of airplane accidents and deaths,” Lietz added. “Amateur pilots often lack the skill to deal with unexpected situations and recover from a loss of stable flight.”