A lawsuit has been filed against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over a 2016 plane crash that took the lives of three people, including an 8-year-old boy, Action News Jax reported.
On Dec. 26, 2016, a plane piloted by David Starling took off from Keystone Heights, Florida. Also aboard was Starling’s 8-year-old, son Hunter Starling; and David Starling’s girlfriend, Kim Smith. The plane entered a cloud layer with low visibility and crashed into the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. All three people aboard were killed.
Hunter’s mother, Tabitha Starling, and Kim Smith’s son, Joshua Garrett Smith, filed a lawsuit against the FAA alleging the agency was negligent because the “approach controller never warned the pilot that he was at an obvious risk of colliding with the mountain.”
The FAA claims the pilot was in error. David Starling had a private pilot’s license for a single engine plane, but was not instrument-rated to fly in a low-visibility cross-country flight. He also didn’t file a flight plan with the FAA.
The Aviation Accident Final Report on the accident issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated, “The pilot had a history of disregard for established rules and regulations,” and on more than one occasion had operated his plane in conditions for which he was not licensed.
The report also alleged that David Starling had “used the potentially impairing stimulant phentermine at some time before the flight, but the samples available for testing were inadequate to quantify impairment.” Phentermine is a prescription medication that is used to suppress appetite.
Source: Action News Jax