Partner Brian J. Alexander Responds to NTSB Report on Deadly Crash of a Canadair Challenger 600 Aircraft Carrying Ebersol Family
Deadly November 28, 2004 Crash In Montrose, Colorado of Plane Carrying Ebersol Family is The Second Attributed To Wing Icing
Jet Manufacturer Fails To Remedy Known Problem
Pilot’s Family Responds to NTSB Report Issued Today
New York, NY, February 2, 2006 – The factual report issued today by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) makes tragically clear that the crew flying NBC executive Richard Ebersol and his sons had no idea that ice had accumulated on the wings of the high performance jet before it crashed on takeoff in Montrose, Colorado, according to attorneys for the family of the pilot flying the plane. Three people were killed in the crash on November 28, 2004, including the pilot, Luis A. Polanco-Espaillat, whose family is represented by attorney Brian Alexander of Kreindler & Kreindler in New York.
“Pilot Polanco-Espaillat was a highly experienced commercial airline pilot with more than 10,000 hours of flight time accumulated in various jet aircraft over 30 years,” said Mr. Alexander. “A review of the NTSB materials confirms that the flight crew performed all required pre-flight and take-off procedures. Significantly, the crew observed that the wings were in ‘good’ and ‘clear’ condition before takeoff. The cockpit voice recorder also indicates the captain and first officer had activated the wing and engine anti-ice systems.”
In a nearly identical crash in January 2002, another Canadair Challenger 600 crashed on takeoff in England. British aviation investigators highlighted the need for improved procedures for ice detection and ice contamination. But it was not until nearly three years later, after the crash in Colorado, that Bombardier, the manufacturer of the Challenger jet, revised its procedures and warnings to pilots to avoid this unsafe condition. They called for a tactile inspection in addition to visual inspections for ice, snow, slush and frost because potentially dangerous contamination might be too small to see.
The NTSB notes that non-slatted turbo jet transport aircraft (like the Challenger) have been involved in a disproportionate number of crashes on takeoff where ice was a contributing factor. It wrote:
Despite the accident and research evidence indicating that small, almost visually imperceptible, amounts of ice accumulation on the upper surface of a wing can cause the same aerodynamic penalties as much larger (and more visible) ice accumulations, recent accidents indicate that the pilot community still may not appreciate the potential consequences of small amounts of ice.
“Knowing the particular susceptibility of these wings to loss of control from ice, snow and slush, the manufacturer had an obligation to make sure pilots had an effective way of determining whether ice is on the wings,” Attorney Alexander said.
“The bottom line is, Bombardier never told pilots that even if the wings appear to be clean, small traces of ice could cause a loss of control on takeoff,” Mr. Alexander said. “They owed it to the pilots to give them this information.”
About Kreindler & Kreindler
Founded in 1950, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP is internationally recognized as the first and most prominent aviation law firm in the United States. The firm has been the leading plaintiff legal counsel on thousands of aviation cases, including major ones such as the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pan Am Lockerbie Flight 103, Korean Airlines Flight 007, American Airlines Flight 587, and many cases of small private and commercial crashes. Its ranks include airplane and helicopter pilots, engineers and other technical experts. Kreindler has offices in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles, California.
Brian Alexander is a Kreindler law partner and a graduate of the United States Military Academy who served as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot from 1985-1990. Mr. Alexander graduated from the Army Aviation Accident Investigation Course, accruing thousands of hours in a variety of rotary and fixed wing aircraft.