Our Past Military Aircraft Crash Cases
Marine Corps KC-130T Plane Crash in Leflore County, Mississippi
A Marine Corps KC-130T plane experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure at cruise altitude and crashed in a soybean field between the cities of Itta Bena and Moorhead. Fifteen Marines and one Navy Corpsman were killed in the crash. There were no survivors. The crash was the deadliest aviation disaster the Marine Corps has experienced in over 10 years.
“The KC-130 Hercules has long been considered a workhorse of the Marine Corps, used for refueling of other aircraft, as well as transporting personnel and equipment,” said our aviation attorney Timothy A. Loranger, who represented family members of victims who perished in the crash. “While these aircraft are traditionally thought of as being reliable, many who work on them and fly them know that they can, at times, be temperamental.”
We are honored to have represented the family members of 10 of the brave service members who died in this tragedy.
Kiowa Warrior OH-58D Military Helicopter Crash, Kandahar, Afghanistan
We represented the families of two Army servicemen in a lawsuit against the engine parts manufacturers of a military helicopter that crashed outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan. The military helicopter crash killed one pilot and left the other with severe disabilities.
An investigation into the 2013 accident found that the helicopter’s engine control unit (ECU) contained in the EMC-35 FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control) and its component parts failed. FADEC is a digital computer that controls fuel to a turbine engine. The part failure led to a significant reduction of fuel flow to the engine, which caused the main rotor to spin too slowly to stay airborne. The FADEC is used interchangeably in civil and military aircraft.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendants’ design and manufacture of the ECU contained in the EMC-35 FADEC was defective and unreasonably dangerous. The defendants (Triumph Group, Inc., Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems Inc.) were allegedly aware of the ECU’s flaws, but failed to raise the alarm about the potential for failure.
AH-6M “Little Bird” Military Helicopter Crash, Fort Benning, Georgia
We filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of Steven Redd, a decorated combat veteran who was killed in an AH-6M “Little Bird” military helicopter crash in Georgia. The lawsuit claims that the helicopter experienced a failure of its Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).
Chief Warrant Officer Steven Redd and Captain David Hortman were flying the AH-6M helicopter in a routine training exercise at Ft. Benning, Georgia in August of 2011 when components of the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system failed, according to the lawsuit. Even after the pilots performed the prescribed emergency procedures, neither were able to regain control of the aircraft, which hit the tops of some trees before impacting with the ground.
Through manufacturing flaws and quality assurance failures, the lawsuit claims that the defendants (Goodrich Corporation, Goodrich Pump and Engine Controls, Rolls-Royce of North America, Inc., Allison Engine Company, Boeing Company and MD Helicopters) allegedly provided an unreliable and defectively manufactured helicopter, engine, fuel control system, and other flight system components, which resulted in the military helicopter crash that killed both Hortman and Redd.
Timothy A. Loranger, Our Military Aviation Attorney
Baum Hedlund’s lead military aviation attorney, Timothy A. Loranger, is a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Tim focused his service as a hydraulic systems specialist on RF-4B, F/A-18, and AC-130 aircraft at the squadron and intermediate maintenance levels.
Tim’s experience as a Marine has enhanced his law career, where he focuses on military aircraft crashes, military vehicle accidents, general and commercial aviation crashes, commercial ground transportation crashes and product liability cases.
Some of his other accomplishments include:
- Served on the Board of Directors for U.S. VETS, the largest nonprofit provider of services to homeless and at-risk veterans from every military branch who served our country in WWII and every conflict since
- Appointed to Board of Governors for Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the nation’s largest local association of plaintiffs’ attorneys
- Active member of CAALA’s Government Relations Committee, the New Lawyers Committee and the Listserve Committee.
- Active member of Consumer Attorneys of California
- Received the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Presidential Award in 2007 and 2014 and the Presidential Award of Merit in 2008
- Licensed pilot and former military aircraft mechanic
- Selected to: The Best Lawyers in America® and Southern California Super Lawyers® – Aviation & Aerospace
Types of Military Aircraft Accidents
Military Helicopter Crashes
Statistics from HeliHub show that in a recent year there were 133 fatal helicopter accidents resulting in 420 deaths. Of that total, 50 crashes and 246 lives were lost in military helicopter crashes, some in war zones and others within areas of the U.S. This number of crashes could conceivably be higher, as helicopter crashes in conflict areas occasionally go unreported, or there simply isn’t enough information for a report to be filed.
Many of these helicopter crashes occur as a result of poor maintenance or manufacturing defects. When this is the case, it is possible for men and women in uniform or civilians, or their families, to file a lawsuit if they are hurt or killed in a military helicopter crash. Even if a crash occurs overseas, it is possible to bring the responsible parties into our judicial system if they are subject to U.S. laws. For example, if the helicopter’s engine was found to be a contributing factor in a crash and its manufacturer is a U.S. company, it is subject to U.S. jurisdiction, regardless of where the helicopter crash occurred.
Military Plane Crash
Dozens of men and women serving in the military lose their lives every year in plane crashes, many of which could have been prevented. Much like a general aviation crash, a military plane crash can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including pilot error, design or manufacturer defects, negligent maintenance, air traffic controller error, or inclement weather.
While military pilots receive the best possible training, they occasionally have to fly planes that should be deemed too old to be in service, or planes that have defective parts. When these mechanical defects are exposed during a critical phase of flight, even the best pilots in the world are challenged to keep themselves and those traveling with them safe from harm.
Military Aircraft Accident Investigation
Military aircraft crashes that result in death or injury need to be investigated with the utmost care to not only learn the causes and bring closure to those affected, but to ensure that others don’t suffer the same fate in similar crashes. In most aviation crashes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has jurisdiction over the investigation. In military aircraft crashes, however, the investigative arm of each branch of service has jurisdiction and is charged with heading the investigation.
Helicopter and plane crashes leave a trail of clues that need to be analyzed and interpreted in order to get a clear picture of what really went wrong. It is for this reason that it is critical to have an experienced aviation attorney conduct an independent investigation to ensure that important details are not missed or overlooked.
These investigations require a breadth of knowledge in aviation law, mechanical engineering, maintenance, pilot training and meteorology, to name but a few of the disciplines that might have to be violated. The aviation attorneys of Baum Hedlund have many years of experience handling over 700 aviation accident cases, including military aircraft crashes. Two of our attorneys are also pilots.
Baum Hedlund: Military Aviation Law Firm
Companies that willfully put profit over the safety of men and women in the Armed Forces should be held accountable for their misdeeds. By filing a military aircraft accident lawsuit, your action can lead to compensation for your losses and help prevent the responsible companies from continuing to put the lives of other men and women in uniform in needless danger.
If you were injured or have lost a loved one as a result of a military aircraft crash, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, our Los Angeles team can help you through this difficult time and guide you through the process of filing a military aircraft accident claim. Our lead military aircraft accident attorney, Tim Loranger, and our entire aviation accident team are known for the compassion and diligence they bring to each and every case.