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Atlas Crash - Pilot's Family Files Lawsuit

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Atlas Crash - Pilot's Family Files Lawsuit

Old 20th Sep 2019, 08:58
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Atlas Crash - Pilot's Family Files Lawsuit

According to an earlier Wall Street Journal article Aska was the pilot flying when the mishap occurred.

The family of a pilot who died in this year's Amazon Air fatal crash is suing Amazon and cargo contractors claiming poor safety standards

Rachel Premack

On Feb. 23, Atlas Air Flight 3591 crashed in Texas, killing all three onboard. The plane was contracted to move Amazon cargo by the e-commerce giant's growing logistics arm.

Atlas Air pilots Capt. Ricky Blakely and First Officer Conrad Jules Aska, as well as Mesa Airlines Capt. Sean Archuleta, who was riding in the jump seat, died in the crash. And, in the weeks before the accident, pilots who were contracted for Amazon Air told Business Insider that an accident was likely.

The surviving family of Aska, who died at 44, claims in a new lawsuit that negligence from Atlas Air and Amazon, as well as Florida-based companies F&E Aircraft Maintenance and Flightstar Aircraft Services, "directly and proximately caused the death" of the pilot. The family is suing the four companies in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 19 in the 11th Circuit Court for the State of Florida.

"Conrad was the leader of the family," Elliot Aska, who is the late pilot's brother, told Business Insider. "We looked to him. He was a strong, vibrant person."

Conrad is survived by several family members including his daughter Kayla Aska, who is 19 and in college. "That's something now she has to experience in a whole different way," Elliot said. "She won't have the privilege of his guidance."

What the lawsuit alleges

Atlas Air, which is contracted to fly Amazon Air's planes along with air cargo company ATSG, employed Aska. The company, according to the federal suit, "owed a duty to the decedent to maintain and use the subject aircraft with the highest degree of care, including a nondelegable duty to ensure its airworthiness, and to exercise the highest degree of care to prevent injury of any kind."

The airline also failed to ensure pilots were well-trained or well-rested, the suit states. The lawsuit claims that Amazon also played a role in those actions.

"Amazon knew or should have known that its history of overworking pilots and forcing them to fly under fatiguing conditions and with little rest time would create an unreasonable risk of harm or death to persons, like decedent, aboard the aircraft," the suit states.

The NTSB said on March 5 that the Boeing 767-300 cargo jet entered some turbulence shortly before the plane's crash landing. Then, the engines increased to maximum thrust, after which the airplane pitch turned slightly up. That "startled the cockpit crew," The Journal
reported, citing several sources familiar with the details.

The crew then tried to push the nose of the plane down. At a 49-degree angle, this caused an unusually steep descent, The Journal reported.

Pilots previously told Business Insider that the actions taken during the flight were "perplexing" and not akin to typical flight maneuvers.

"I can't imagine," a pilot and former aviation-safety officer in the US military told Business Insider. "It sounds so off to me — totally counter to my instincts and training. I'd kick the autopilot and auto throttles off pretty darn fast."




https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-atlas-air-fatal-crash-pilots-sue-2019-9
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 09:40
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I don't think suing like that is particularly helpful.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 09:47
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
I don't think suing like that is particularly helpful.
But the lawyers will think it is, whatever the rights and wrongs of this accident happen to be.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 09:49
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
I don't think suing like that is particularly helpful.
helpful or not to whom?
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 13:57
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Originally Posted by ironbutt57 View Post
helpful or not to whom?
Perhaps the best defense is an offense.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 14:11
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
I don't think suing like that is particularly helpful.
On the face of it this appears to be a straight forward LOC and crash. The extended delay in reporting anything of substance purely because ICAO agreements allow such delays do appear to be a way of obfuscating the issues and hoping that interest will be lost in the event. A legal action may be the only way of getting the NTSB to actually finish what should have been a simple investigation.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 14:19
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Originally Posted by aterpster View Post
Perhaps the best defense is an offense.
exactly what I thought if the rumours are correct.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 20:08
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I wonder what exactly their case will be based on. Will they sue claiming the pilot in question was not qualified and capable in the aircraft and based on his training history should have been removed from flight status?
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 20:23
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Originally Posted by Sailvi767 View Post
I wonder what exactly their case will be based on. Will they sue claiming the pilot in question was not qualified and capable in the aircraft and based on his training history should have been removed from flight status?
I wonder the same thing - reportedly the pilot flying at the time is the one whose family is suing - are they going to claim he was a lousy pilot and shouldn't have been allowed to fly?
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 20:29
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Sail & TD, .... looks to me that they are claiming that he was pushed over the edge by fatigue. I expect that they know what is in the report.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 21:17
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Is the Captain's family also suing? It would seem that the concerns that the FO's suit raises would apply to the Captain as well.
Originally Posted by the article that Airbubba linked
Atlas Air, which is contracted to fly Amazon Air's planes along with air cargo company ATSG, employed Aska. The company, according to the federal suit, "owed a duty to the decedent to maintain and use the subject aircraft with the highest degree of care, including a nondelegable duty to ensure its airworthiness, and to exercise the highest degree of care to prevent injury of any kind."
The airline also failed to ensure pilots were well-trained or well-rested, the suit states. The lawsuit claims that Amazon also played a role in those actions.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 21:25
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Originally Posted by Capt Scribble View Post
Sail & TD, .... looks to me that they are claiming that he was pushed over the edge by fatigue. I expect that they know what is in the report.
Capt, I''m specifically referring to this statement - more specifically the 'well trained' bit:
The airline also failed to ensure pilots were well-trained or well-rested, the suit states.
As to what's in the report, I may be wrong, but my suspicion is that the NTSB is going to say 'pilot error' and point to a sub-par pilot. The delay in releasing the report is that they want to make damn sure they've properly crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's before they hang the guy out to dry. I doubt they would be sharing that with the family ahead of time.
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Old 21st Sep 2019, 01:34
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Originally Posted by Ian W View Post
On the face of it this appears to be a straight forward LOC and crash. The extended delay in reporting anything of substance purely because ICAO agreements allow such delays do appear to be a way of obfuscating the issues and hoping that interest will be lost in the event. A legal action may be the only way of getting the NTSB to actually finish what should have been a simple investigation.
NTSB investigations generally take a minimum of 12 months and that time is normally mentioned in press releases or news conferences at the time of the accident. If pressing safety issues arise they make announcements and seek remedy thru the FAA . The fact that someone filed a lawsuit means nothing to them and will have no effect on the final report timeline. 12 to 18 months is the norm .
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Old 21st Sep 2019, 02:38
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I get a warm fuzzy feeling there is something on the CVR we are not being told about...other than that it's hard to really PROVE who made which control inputs, we can "surmise, guesstimate, build a circumstantial case" based on who was making radio transmissions, and the past history of the pilots, but proving it is another matter...the lawsuit may serve to force the company/NTSB whomever to reveal details inconvenient to the family members that are best kept private, in order to defend themselves..
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Old 21st Sep 2019, 11:04
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Originally Posted by ironbutt57 View Post
helpful or not to whom?
Anyone. I don't think the family will feel better and I don't think any meaningful change will be made to the way the company operates that wouldn't have been made anyway.
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Old 21st Sep 2019, 22:27
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Originally Posted by ironbutt57 View Post
helpful or not to whom?
It doesn't matter. Welcome to the world of US Tort Law where logic and common sense are sometimes left at the door. It would be interesting to read the actual claimant doc filed. Before all said and done there will probably be a few more filings.
the lawsuit may serve to force the company/NTSB whomever to reveal details
The investigation is protected by regulation/law and the CVR recordings/transcripts are protected by Congressional mandate where even the NTSB are not allowed to disclose them. There have been rare disclosures in the past but I doubt seriously this will be one. Once the final report is released I'm sure we'll have an idea what happened.
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 00:10
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Quote from NTSB:
" A cockpit voice recorder (CVR) group was convened and will complete a transcript of the entire event. The CVR transcript will be released when the public docket is opened."

When will the public docket be opened?
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 00:11
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Originally Posted by wrench1 View Post
The investigation is protected by regulation/law and the CVR recordings/transcripts are protected by Congressional mandate where even the NTSB are not allowed to disclose them. There have been rare disclosures in the past but I doubt seriously this will be one.
Actually, CVR transcripts are normally published by the NTSB at a hearing or when the accident docket is made public online.

From the NTSB website:

...under federal law, transcripts of pertinent portions of cockpit voice recordings are released at a Safety Board public hearing on the accident or, if no hearing is held, when a majority of the factual reports are made public.


https://www.ntsb.gov/news/pages/cvr_fdr.aspx

From the NTSB CVR Handbook:

14.3. Per 49 USC Section1114(c), a factual report with a transcript is released to the public only under the following circumstances (see 49 USC Section 1114(c)–Disclosure, availability, and use of information).

14.3.1. In the event that a public hearing is held, the CVR factual report with the attached transcript shall be released into the public docket at the time of the public hearing. The general public, including parties to the investigation, may not receive the CVR transcript prior to the time of the public hearing.

14.3.2. In the event that a public hearing is not held, the CVR factual report is released into the public docket only when the majority of the factual reports are placed into the docket. The general public, including parties to the investigation, may not receive the CVR transcript prior to the time the transcript is placed into the public docket.
https://www.ntsb.gov/news/pages/cvr_fdr.aspx

Much of what in the past would be transcribed as 'non-pertinent conversation' is now included verbatim in the published transcript. Expletives may be deleted from the transcript as deemed necessary according to the CVR Handbook.
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 00:14
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Originally Posted by wrench1 View Post
The investigation is protected by regulation/law and the CVR recordings/transcripts are protected by Congressional mandate where even the NTSB are not allowed to disclose them. There have been rare disclosures in the past but I doubt seriously this will be one. Once the final report is released I'm sure we'll have an idea what happened.
The audio of the CVR is protected but not a transcript. If the CVR recording is readable a transcript will be made and included in both the docket and the final report.

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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 01:17
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There are purported CVR recordings posted online on YouTube and elsewhere. Some, like the widely circulated Air Florida 90 tape seem to be authentic. Others appear to be dramatizations from the published transcripts done for documentaries or airline training. A few appear to be outright hoaxes like some of the MH370 stuff being passed around.

Airline urban legends and crew bus stories often seem to claim missing details from the published transcripts like the 'shut up gringo!' line before pulling the GPWS circuit breaker on a 1980's Avianca CFIT accident. In the aftermath of the 2013 Southwest hard landing mishap at LaGuardia the captain supposedly said 'I just don't know what happened.' 'You just crashed the plane is what happened' was the FO's alleged reply. None of these quotes appear in the officially published transcripts.
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