On December 20, 2011, a 1998 Cessna 172R, registered to U.S. Aviation Academy, a flight school based at Denton Municipal Airport, in Texas, crashed into the ground while flying the Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to the airport. The commercial student pilot, Xie Chengjie, was fatally injured and the certificated flight instructor; Michael Lin, and pilot-rated passenger Zhao Shuran, were both seriously injured. The training flight was being operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan.
According to the surviving pilot-rated passenger, the flight was uneventful until the airplane descended on the instrument landing system, at which point the airplane entered a fog bank. What happened after that is still unclear, but moments later the aircraft crashed into the ground.
The visibility at the time of the ILS approach was awful. Reported weather conditions included 3/4 miles visibility with mist and 200 feet vertical visibility. It should be noted that instructor pilots are in command of the flight and have a duty to be hyper vigilant on training flights particularly those that involve dangerous flight maneuvers or as in this case, dangerous conditions during the instrument approach when the aircraft was in close proximity to the ground.
Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has considerable experience in addressing claims involving flight schools including several injury and death cases involving foreign students. For example, the firm successfully resolved claims against Ormond Beach Aviation, a Florida based flight school for injuries suffered by a student from the United Arab Emirates. Partners Brian Alexander and Stuart Fraenkel presently represent a Norwegian flight student who was killed in the 2010 crash of a Cessna 172S during instrument training off the coast of Florida. Messrs Alexander and Fraenkel also successfully represented two Swedish student pilots in an action against the FAA arising from a mid-air collision near El Cajon, California. If you have any questions concerning this accident please contact us.