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The 'Law' Is Really An A**

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I hope I'm not alone here, but the Oregon court decision to award millions from GE to bereaved families, despite the TSB's clear judgement as to the causes of the Carson S61 multiple fatality seems to defy reason and 'common' sense.


So, taking off 1400 lb. overweight and limping along until colliding with a tree is the engine manufacturer's fault? Unclear or inadequate procedures of Carson's played their part, too, but surely the courts have some responsibility to the concept of 'justice,' or does the (ludicrously) presumed wisdom of juries override all?


At the very least, pilots better take away from this that, whatever happens, and whatever the realities, the court, and the judge, will do their thing, regardless of hard technical evidence. CYA in advance - not after the fact!


I'm no advocate of the airframe and engine manufacturers but, surely, this is a towering example of jurisprudence totally defying justice.

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“The First Thing We Do,

Let’s Kill All the Lawyers”


The great trial lawyer Daniel Webster said: “Justice is the greatest concern

of man on earth.” There is no greater professional calling than to stand as a

lawyer at the bar of justice and breathe life into the Constitution, the Bill of

Rights, the statutory law and common law by defining, asserting and defending

the rights of citizens. Lawyers play many vital roles on the world’s stage but none

more important than preserving, protecting and perpetuating the rights of citizens,

both individual and business. Since lawyers play such a vital role in our democracy,

why has lawyer-bashing increased exponentially in recent years and how

should we respond to it?

One of the many enigmas to arise out of the corporate dominated decade of

the eighties is the advent of lawyer bashing. The adversaries of our proud and

noble profession continue to misquote the law, distort case results and unjustly

attack judges and juries in a mass media onslaught designed to silence the victim’s

voice - the trial lawyers of America.

Ironically, the rallying cry of the lawyer bashers has become Shakespeare’s



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Somewhat related, that model that walked into the spinning propeller (lost a hand and an eye I think) is suing the airline's insurance company......or something along those lines.


I guess it is not reasonable to expect people to know that you should not walk into spinning props....and just generally be careful around aircraft.

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I do agree with the heading, "the Law is an A**".

And though I have no great love for lawyers, unfortunately they just do what the the law tells/allows them to do.

Remember there were several 'good' lawyers arguing against this claim.

Sadly, judges and juries must decide on only the information presented to them in Court.

Here are some facts in this case.

Suits are still ongoing against other parties in this case.

Carson Helicopters have previously blamed an engine failure as the primary cause.

GE will appeal the verdict in this case.

This jury felt GE was 57% responsible in this case.....more details in this article....



Here is part of the NTSB executive summary,

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were the following actions by Carson Helicopters: 1) the intentional understatement of the helicopter's empty weight, 2) the alteration of the power available chart to exaggerate the helicopter's lift capability, and 3) the practice of using unapproved above-minimum specification torque in performance calculations that, collectively, resulted in the pilots relying on performance calculations that significantly overestimated the helicopter's load-carrying capacity and did not provide an adequate performance margin for a successful takeoff; and insufficient oversight by the USFS and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Contributing to the accident was the failure of the flight crewmembers to address the fact that the helicopter had approached its maximum performance capability on their two prior departures from the accident site because they were accustomed to operating at the limit of the helicopter's performance.


(Not much mention of GE there, however if you ask some S61 pilots about those engines and previous 'droop' incidents, you will get an idea of what the pilot's widow and injured co-pilot were talking about).


Carson have not flown for the USFS since this incident. Note that even though the pilots had departed twice from this pad (at max capability), there was a USFS Inspector pilot riding with them. He did not stop them from attempting the third take-off.

This Inspector was very experienced and respected through the heli industry in the Western US.

He also died in this tragedy. He is dearly missed by those that knew him.

8 others also died, a pilot and 7 fire-fighters.


Several regular viewers/members of this site helped with the fiery rescue and NTSB inquiry.


Because of the way USFS contracts are awarded, and the way FAA rules are written (Part91), the FAA has virtually no control over helicopter operations on long-term Public-Use contracts.

This, and several other things, may change after this crash and NTSB inquiry.


This wasn't just an "accident". There were some serious safety breaches that led to it.

Some parties were definitely at fault in this tragedy, and compensation is needed for those that suffered, but I think most of us disagree with where the jury pointed their finger in this case.


Roark, Jim and the Grayback Crew, Never Forgotten.

The Law is an A**

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The U.S. litigation laws allow for lawsuits that overcompensate a loss of life or injury, with massive sums on a monetary basis. Is it a surprise that a huge corporate conglomerate like G.E. would be stuck with the tab????A "sue happy" society will always go after the "big boys" !

One day, Canada may follow suit.......our underwriters are certainly looking in that direction !

As suggested....operators and flight crews should CYA !

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