A Canadian flight school, a North Carolina airplane parts manufacturer, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been hit with lawsuits alleging negligence which led to an airplane crash that killed three people.
The crash occurred Oct. 16, 2016, on an aircraft owned and operated by the St. Catharines Flying Club of Niagara on the Lake, on a flight from Richmond, Virginia to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. All persons on board – two passengers and the pilot – were killed. The lawsuit claims that the crash was caused by the failure of the aircraft’s Tempest Vacuum Pump, which was manufactured by Aero Accessories.
The Flying Club is an Ontario-based flying school that trains pilots for initial licensing, which consists of both flight and ground training, some of which is conducted in the United States. Corey Michael Mijac and Christopher Jeffries were among the students in the program who four days prior to the crash were sent to the United States for several days of training. The crash occurred on their return to St. Catharines.
Rifat Tawfig was the instructor aboard the fatal flight, and the plane the three decedents were flying in was a Piper PA-28-161. Tawfig was recently trained in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) flying, and though his instructors allegedly had concerns about his level of ability, they did not stop him from flying with Mijac and Jeffries.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed by the estate trustee for both Mijac and Jeffries, “On the final leg of the return trip to St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport, the IMC conditions foreseen and forecasted occurred. Tawfig flew into the IMC conditions, subsequently lost control of his aircraft and crashed it into the ground.” The lawsuit alleges that Aero Accessories’ vacuum pump failed causing the instruments on the aircraft to be inoperable or provide false information, which contributed to the crash.
A second case was brought by Tawfig’s family alleging the same defendants were negligent by deeming the plane operational and permitting it to fly.
Source: Pennsylvania Record