Agricultural work requires special skill. Regardless of whether the ag pilot is flying a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, the work always involves heavily-laden aircraft maneuvering in close proximity to terrain, wires, and other hazards. Often, the ag aircraft has been converted from military use. Some of the modifications, necessary to accommodate spray equipment, were not rigorously tested before obtaining FAA approval. Those modifications can lead to unexpected controllability issues. Even aircraft that are purpose-built for agricultural work can present safety concerns due to the high number of cycles to which the aircraft are subjected. Modern turbine engines, normally reliable, can fail in the agricultural setting due to faulty overhauls, defective fan blades, or improperly serviced fuel control units. Because ag pilots spend most of their time low and slow, engine failures most often lead to catastrophic injuries.
The general public is not permitted to ride is special-purpose ag aircraft. For that reason, the National Transportation Board does not investigate ag accidents with the same level of scrutiny it does other crashes. Investigators are quick to chalk up the crash of an ag helicopter or airplane to pilot error and close the file. Yet, frequently the accidents are the result of poorly designed add-on equipment or faulty maintenance, causes that are not uncovered unless and until the pilot or his family hires a lawyer and files a lawsuit.
Aircraft have been used to apply chemicals to crops, or to seed the fields, for nearly 100 years. Yet, aerial application of agricultural products remains among the most hazardous types of flying there is. Ag operations place high demands on the pilots, the aircraft, the mechanics who maintain the aircraft, and the STC holders who design and retrofit agricultural aircraft to legacy equipment. Call Danko Meredith Trial Lawyers at (650) 453-3600 for a free legal consultation.
It is important to call an attorney promptly after an ag accident, so that the attorney and his experts can examine the evidence before the aircraft wreckage is destroyed or its component parts are repaired and placed back in service.
Danko Meredith Trial Lawyers has extensive experience handling aviation accident cases of all kinds throughout California. This includes ag cases involving a variety of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Our lawyers have been successfully resolving ag crash cases for more than 20 years. Find out how we can help your specific case today, during a free consultation with one of our California agricultural aviation accident lawyers.