Lidle Lawsuit is Frivolous

Belaire Condominium, 12 October 2006, after be...

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New evidence in Lidle plane crash.

Lidle’s wife, Melanie, is suing plane maker Cirrus Design Corp. in Manhattan Federal Court, claiming a breakdown in the plane’s controls caused the deaths of her husband and flight instructor Tyler Stanger. Stanger’s family has joined in the suit.

I have tremendous sympathy for the families left behind in the wake of Cory Lidle’s crash into a Manhattan high rise in October 2006. But lawsuits like this are precisely what is wrong with our judicial system.

A low time pilot, with a relatively inexperienced, locally unfamiliar instructor depart on a marginal VFR day with a low ceiling for a sightseeing tour up a narrow, dead-end corridor for small airplanes. They fly up the middle of that corridor at about 500 feet and make a steep left turn downwind. The plane stalls (or comes close) and when they roll out, a building is staring them in the face.

This accident had nothing to do with the airplane – it was the human beings inside. The NTSB concluded the cause was “the pilots’ inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in the performance of a 180º turn maneuver inside of a limited turning space.”

But in our litigious society, the facts don’t matter very much. One way or another we all pay for this. And the lawyers are the only real winners. Sad eplilogue to a tragic story.


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2 Responses to “Lidle Lawsuit is Frivolous”

  1. mikedanko Says:


    The problem with NTSB investigations is that they have a built-in conflict of interest. That’s because the NTSB allows the aircraft manufacturers to participate in the investigations but excludes the families and the families’ experts. Because of this conflict, the NTSB’s final conclusions almost always favor the manufacturer.

    Fortunately, victims who are exluded from the NTSB’s investigations don’t need to accept the NTSB’s conclusions. They can bring a lawsuit and, once they have the power of subpoena, they can conduct their own investigations. It’s not a matter of being “frivolous”, it’s a matter of basic fairness.

    There is a known problem with the Cirrus ailerons jamming at full deflection. After this accident, Cirrus published a number of service bulletins in an attempt to correct the problem. I’m not saying that the aileron problem caused the Lidle crash. But the families are entitled to use the power of subpoena that comes with filing a lawsuit to investigate what happened. They don’t have to simply accept the NTSB’s conclusion — a conclusion the NTSB reached after listening to Cirrus’ experts behind closed doors.

  2. katedoughertypr Says:

    Well said Miles, and spot on.

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