Kreindler Represents Family in Cirrus SR-22 Airplane Crash in Las Vegas
November 26, 2019
- A Cirrus SR-22 collided with terrain approximately 10 miles north of the North Las Vegas airport as it was being vectored for landing by Air Traffic Control (ATC).
- The plane was traveling through Class B airspace, which requires ATC to provide safety alerts, including when an aircraft is in dangerous proximity to terrain.
- Flightpath records show that the aircraft appears to have been vectored towards mountainous terrain by ATC, specifically towards Gass Peak, the highest peak in the area.
Kreindler represents the family of the victims of the November 26, 2019 crash of a Cirrus SR-22 collided with terrain approximately 10 miles north of North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT) in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 3 family members aboard the plane.
The aircraft was intending to land at North Las Vegas Airport and was being vectored for landing by Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the time of the crash.
Although it is too early in the investigation to determine the precise cause of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is likely to examine several possible factors, including information, or the lack thereof, provided by Air Traffic Control to the pilot.
The plane was traveling through the Class B airspace, which surrounds McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Las Vegas, Nevada. Class B airspace requires two-way communication between aircraft and ATC. Under FAA Order 7110.65, air traffic controllers are required to provide aircraft in Class B airspace separation and safety alerts to aircraft under their control. Safety alerts include terrain alerts when an aircraft is in dangerous proximity to terrain.
As can be seen from the below flightpath, the aircraft appears to have been vectored by ATC towards mountainous terrain and then specifically towards the highest peak in the area, Gass Peak. The aircraft was at 6,500 feet, and Gass Peak is 6,937 feet. The collision with terrain occurred at Gass Peak.
The air traffic controller’s screen would indicate Gass Peak as the highest obstacle in the area with an inverted “V” along with other obstacle heights and minimum safe altitudes.
The Cirrus SR-22 Aircraft
The Cirrus SR-22 aircraft is a single-engine piston-powered aircraft, which can carry four persons. It was first introduced in 2001 and is one of the most popular selling small general aviation aircraft. It is best known for a Ballistic Recovery System, a.k.a. parachute system, which can safely bring the aircraft to the ground under a parachute. The system must be activated by the pilot and therefore requires certain situational awareness and time, which may not be available in situations like this one given the dark night conditions and the presumably unexpected rising terrain.
Past Kreindler FAA/ATC Cases
Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has successfully investigated and prosecuted many similar ATC cases against the FAA. A partial list of cases includes:
Early v. FAA - FAA air traffic controllers failed to provide minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) alert to Cirrus SR20 aircraft on final approach into New York Stewart International Airport.
Saltsman v. FAA - family traveling from the Smoky Mountains to Florida - ATC gave improper vector below minimum safe (vector) altitude resulting in aircraft crashing into rising mountainous terrain.
KAL 801 - FAA - approach control facility on Guam failed to provide low altitude safety alert and misprogrammed the minimum safe altitude warning system.
Katz v. FAA - failure to provide minimum safe altitude warning on landing at MacArthur Airport, Islip, NY, resulting in crash short of the runway.
Adamo v. FAA - intentionally disabling MSAW aural alert system and failure to provide complete and accurate weather information and low altitude alert, resulting in an impact with terrain.
Finnegan v. FAA - Denver, CO (Continental Flight 1404). ATC failure to give correct and complete landing information concerning crosswinds resulting in aircraft inability to remain on the runway.
Karoly v. FAA - New Bedford, MA. Providence approach control provided inaccurate radar vectoring to TBM on an approach and incomplete weather information.
Chawla v. FAA - failure to provide accurate and complete icing information and failure to vector to a safe altitude, leading to loss of aircraft control in a TBM 700.
Sigurdson, et al v. FAA - California midair involving flight school aircraft (successfully represented two Swedish student pilots against FAA).
Degregorio v. FAA - midair collision at local NYC airport, ATC failure to monitor traffic, provide safety alert, improper vectoring, etc.
Giordano v. FAA - directed aircraft in distress to a non-existent airport that had been closed 10 years earlier, resulting in aircraft forced landing, killing the pilot