jetSixty-five years ago, on May 2, 1952, aviation history was made when a de Havilland Comet departed London for Johannesburg, South Africa—the world’s first passenger jet air service. It was a proud moment for Britain and its aircraft industry.

Post-war air travel was dominated by the American-made Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-6, and airlines—including British Overseas Airways Corporation, the UK’s flagship international carrier–lined up to buy them. British manufacturers made a bold decision to leapfrog over the piston-powered, propeller-driven American airliners by adopting turbine power. England led the United States in wartime jet engine technology, and hoped to take advantage of this by beating America with the first jet transport.

Continue Reading Air Safety: A Falling Comet

airplaneOn April 27, 2017, Petitioner The Boeing Company filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of 100-to 150-Seat Large Civil Aircraft from Canada.

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The merchandise covered by this petition is aircraft that have a standard 100- to 150-seat two-class seating capacity and a minimum 2,900 nautical mile range, as these terms are defined below.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Large Civil Aircraft From Canada

airportThe recent US ban on laptops and tablets electronic devices from carry-on luggage from flights from 10 Middle Eastern Airports, and a more limited UK ban, have been widely condemned by the aviation press and the airline industry as arbitrary, ineffective and counterproductive. There is no factual basis for the airports selected, the UK list differs from the US, and the bans can be evaded by taking a connecting flight from elsewhere.[1]

These issues raise a more fundamental question: Does the enormous cost and burden imposed upon the airlines and the traveling public by the all-encompassing TSA airport security regime provide any real benefit?

Continue Reading Air Safety: Do Away with TSA?

airplane jetThe U.S. Department of Transportation recently revised the SIFL rates that are used to value an employee’s personal use of a company aircraft, as required by the Internal Revenue Code Section 61 and the Federal Tax Regulations Section 1.61-21(g). The Department announced that the following rates will apply for the 6-month period January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017:

Continue Reading DOT Revises the Standard Industry Fare Level (SIFL) for First 6 Months of 2017

compassOn the second anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Air flight MH370, this blog explored the known facts and concluded, “Unless and until the wreckage is located on the ocean floor and the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder data recovered, the most plausible scenario is deliberate human action, most likely by one of the cockpit crew.”

Thereafter, the search area was refined, but in January, 2017 further search efforts were ended. As a result, recovery of the vital “black boxes” is highly unlikely.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—Revisited

crash site
The crash site near Mason City, Iowa

In the early morning of February 3, 1959, a Beech Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) crashed shortly after takeoff from the Mason City, Iowa airport, killing all on board. The accident entered aviation history and American popular culture.

In early 1959 Buddy Holly’s band was playing a “Winter Dance Tour” across the wintry upper Midwest. The travel logistics were less than ideal, involving long drives in an-ill equipped bus, in sub-freezing and sometimes sub-zero temperatures. Holly and Richardson were both ill, and Holly decided to charter a flight to the band’s next stop in Moorhead, Minnesota to avoid another lengthy road trip after playing the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on the night of February 2.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The Night the Music Died

Product Liability Monitor

February 8, 2017
New Developments
Autonomous Vehicle Technology Regulation In the Trump Administration
By Eric B. Krauss

Last autumn President Obama revealed his administration’s plan for autonomous driving technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) published fifteen guidelines in September, 2016, that were almost widely lauded as striking the right balance between safety and technological progress.   Consumer, automotive and technology interests—with the notable exception of Apple—seemed pleased that the government espoused policies that did not overregulate and stifle innovation, yet provided enough potential federal oversight to prevent a state law quagmire. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recognized that the emerging technology faced tremendous burdens, and federal guidelines would bring some uniformity to the fifty states’ differing regulations. Support for the Obama administration guidelines was near-universal and cost to the industry was minimal. [Continue Reading]

Defective and Dangerous Spacecraft
By Alan Hoffman

On January 27, 1967, the Apollo 1 spacecraft burst into flames during a ground test at Cape Canaveral. Three astronauts—Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee—died in the conflagration.  The fire and the loss of the astronauts traumatized NASA, which had a six year record of spaceflight without loss of life. [Continue Reading]

Product Liability Defense: New Resources and the Changing Platform
By Dan Jaffe

At many law firms and companies information technology is the moving force changing and enhancing the resource platform supporting product liability defense efforts. These rapidly improving technologies can reduce costs while increasing the amount and quality of available information needed to support the liability defense of products. Automated systems allow lawyers’ tasks to be performed with greater efficiency. Law practice is similar in this respect to other service businesses in which information technology has had a profound impact on workplace organization as well as the type and amount of skilled labor needed to accomplish the enterprise’s goals and objectives. [Continue Reading]

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Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]
Product Liability Monitor Archive
December 2016

airplane jetOn May 31, 2014, a Gulfstream IV executive jet overran the runway at Hanscom Airport in suburban Boston from which it had attempted to takeoff. It hurtled into a ravine off the end of the runway, crashed and burst into flames. The three crew members and four passengers all perished in the resulting fireball. The accident received widespread media attention because the passengers included Lewis Katz, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist and co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was returning with his guests from an education fundraising event hosted by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Continue Reading Air Safety: Free and Correct?: The Lesson of the Bedford Incident

1941 US Army Air Force Lieutenants
U.S. Army Air Force Lieutenants Harry Brown, Phillip Rasmussen, Ken Taylor, George Welch and Lewis Sanders

On December 7, 1941 most of the Army’s aircraft in Hawaii were neatly lined up at Hickam and Wheeler Fields, and were destroyed on the ground. But a few P-40 and P-36 fighters stationed at outlying airstrips on Oahu escaped. A number of Army pilots, some sleeping off a Saturday night of carousing, were awakened by the attack, hastily made their way to these primitive fields, and took off to undertake the air defense of Pearl Harbor that morning.

Continue Reading Air Safety: The December 7, 1941 Air Defense of Pearl Harbor