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pilot 18 articles

Hot Air Balloon Safety Bill Moves to U.S. Senate for Vote

A bill that would require commercial hot air balloon pilots to undergo medical exams in much the same way other commercial aviators do cleared the House and landed in the U.S. Senate for approval. The proposed bill comes two years after the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history killed 15 passengers and the pilot in Lockhart, Texas. Federal investigators discovered that the pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols had a history of medical conditions including depression, chronic pain, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Before the July 30, 2016, hot air balloon crash, Mr. Nichols took a slew of prescription drugs, ... Read More

Two Years After Deadliest Hot Air Balloon Crash, No Safety Improvements in Sight

If another deadly hot-air balloon crash like the one that killed 16 people in Lockhart, Texas two years ago happens again, will aviation regulators and lawmakers be ok with that, knowing it happened on their watch? More than two years after the horrific Lockhart tragedy, those with the authority to improve safety have taken no meaningful action to help prevent such a devastating and entirely preventable accident from happening again in the U.S. If the deadliest balloon crash in U.S. history wasn’t enough to change the incredibly lax oversight of the hot air balloon industry, what would be? In a ... Read More

House Passes Hot Air Balloon Legislation In Wake of Lockhart Crash

Two years after a hot air balloon crash in Lockhart, Texas killed 16 people, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would hold balloon pilots to the same medical standards as pilots of private airplanes. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex), said the bill “will help save lives in the future,” according to USA Today. The bill has moved to the Senate for review. The hot air balloon crash, the worst balloon crash in U.S. history, occurred on July 30, 2016, near the town of Lockhart, which is in Sen. Doggett’s district. Lockhart is located about 30 ... Read More

Airplane Crash Kills California Family and Pilot Near Eugene, Oregon

A California family flying to Oregon on a university scouting trip died April 7 along with their pilot when the Piper Malibu airplane they were traveling in crashed on approach to the Eugene Airport. Authorities say John Zitting, 42, his wife, Karen Sitting, 37, and their son John Brendan Zitting, 17, of Thousand Oaks, California, were on their way to the University of Oregon in Eugene, where John Brendan was considering attending. The pilot was identified as Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, California. The airplane, a six-seat, single-engine 1984 Piper PA-46-310P (Malibu), was registered to Park City Aviation LLC ... Read More

Pilot in Deadly Texas Hot Air Balloon Crash Was Unfit To Fly, Investigators Find

The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Lockhart, Texas, in July, killing himself and 15 passengers, had been taking at least 10 different prescription drugs that should have prevented him from flying, medical professionals testified during a Dec. 9 investigative hearing. According to the Associated Press, experts said during the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation that 49-year-old pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols suffered from a multitude of health problems, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, depression, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain. Oxycodone, an extremely potent opioid drug, was one of several  medications ... Read More

Texas Hot Air Balloon Pilot Sued Was Over Similar Crash in Missouri

The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Lockhart, Texas, in July, killing all 16 people aboard was sued by a family over a similar accident that happened years before in Missouri, according to a Kansas City investigative report. KSHB 41 Action News reporters discovered court records from a lawsuit filed in 2012 against Air Balloon Sports, LLC, a Missouri-based hot air balloon company of which Alfred “Skip” Nichols, the pilot in the deadly Texas crash, was an owner. Court documents show that in 2009, Mr. Nichols took a family of three on a balloon ride in Jefferson ... Read More

Last unresolved lawsuit from Continental Flight 3407 crash headed to trial

One wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, New York, has not been resolved, and the case appears to be headed to trial in the coming months. Flight 3407 crashed on Feb. 12, 2009, as the twin-turbo prop airplane was making its final approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The crash killed all 49 people aboard the airplane and one person on the ground — 61-year-old Doug Wielinski, who was at home with his wife and daughter when the airplane hit his house. It’s the Wielinski family’s lawsuit that remains unresolved out ... Read More

OSHA orders reinstatement of pilot fired for reporting safety concerns to FAA

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered the reinstatement of a pilot who alleged he was fired over his unwillingness to participate in fraudulent activity on the job and for reporting his concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The pilot’s employer, Northern Illinois Flight Center, was also ordered to compensate the pilot more than $500,000 in back pay, benefits, and damages. According to OSHA, “the whistleblower, a pilot from Illinois, was dismissed after contacting the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss violations of the pilot certification process.” The pilot alleges his employer asked him to falsify an ... Read More

Texas community mourns family members killed in airplane crash

Hundreds of Southlake, Texas, residents turned up at a school stadium Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil held for four family members killed in a small airplane crash Saturday morning. Dr. Leonard Ledet, 50, a dentist and owner of Ledet Dental, died in the airplane crash with his two sons, 17-year-old Paul and 13-year old Mason, and brother Gregory when the Beechcraft Bonanza airplane he was piloting went down after taking off from a regional airport north of Fort Worth, Texas. The family members were on their way to Mississippi to watch Texas A&M play Ole Miss in Saturday’s football ... Read More

Several reported dead in Lake Tahoe airplane crash

Several people were killed in a small single-engine airplane crash near South Lake Tahoe, California, Saturday night. Authorities investigating the crash say that the private plane crashed into a wooded area shortly after it took off from an airport on the southern side of the lake about 9:48 p.m., setting off a one-acre fire. None of the people aboard the aircraft survived the crash. According to the Associated Press, the airplane was registered to Francisco J. Delamora of Fresno, Calif. Mr. Delamora owns Jdm Transport Inc., a Fresno-based trucking company. Authorities have not yet confirmed the identities of the people ... Read More