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Jury: airplane manufacturer not responsible in Cory Lidle’s death

May 24, 2011, 4:30 PM EDT

Cory Lidle

It was just less than a month ago that the Cory Lidle wrongful death trial began. The claim, brought by Lidle’s family: that the manufacturer of the airplane Lidle was flying malfunctioned and was responsible for his death.  Today the jury came back with a verdict. They did not agree.  The FAA’s determination of the matter — pilot error — remains the only explanation adopted by anyone who has dispassionately considered the matter.

HBT Commenter Emeritus Old Gator is a licensed pilot with thousands of hours under his belt and has experience with the sort of plane Lidle was flying that fateful day in October 2006.  His assessment, in comments last month, was as follows:

The scenario of an aircraft as relatively simple as a Cirrus going out of control due to a berserk Hall-9000 control system strikes me as too preposterous to take very seriously. This one has all the classic hallmarks of overreaching student pilot stupidity and an instructor who was asleep at the switch … I can tell you that any pilot who was trying to perform a 180-degree turn inside the Hudson corridor, below the level of the surrounding buildings, was doing something very foolish unless there was some kind of genuine emergency at hand – like, collision avoidance – and any instructor who would permit him to do so should have had his license yanked.

Cory Lidle’s death was a sad thing. But it would seem that his death was also the doing of his own errors and/or those of the flight instructor who died with him.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 24, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Is there anything the Gator doesn’t do? Gator is like the Chuck Norris of HBT, sans the Republicany part.

    • yankeesfanlen - May 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      Captain Sully took lessons from HIM!
      j/k Gator, we know you fly through the Borg with the greatest of ease.

    • Old Gator - May 24, 2011 at 11:23 PM

      Gator don’t surf.

  2. paperlions - May 24, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Little known fact, Cory Lidle made a public appearance with Glenn Beck and Sara Palin the week before the crash.

  3. baseballstars - May 24, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    I think it’s great that HBT sometimes quotes their followers. Kudos, HBT staff and Old Gator.

  4. cur68 - May 24, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Gator would reply, but he’s currently preparing to fly to San Francisco on his personally woven flying carpet so he can hover over the field in San Francisco and flay Hanley Ramirez with an acid tongue for being a sloppy defender. Providing the Iron Giant doesn’t knock him off his carpet with a moon shot he’ll tell us all about it tomorrow. Or something.

  5. Old Gator - May 24, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Now now, can I help it if I suffered from a lifelong obsession with viewing cloud animals at eye level?
    I’m sorry for the Lidle family – sometimes, it’s easier to take advantage of our often out-of-control legal system not just to squeeze some carrion luchre out of an insurance company as to seek verification in the eyes of others, and whatever comfort that might afford, that your departed loved one wasn’t a total screwup in death. In my time in aviation, which is most of my adult life, I’ve seen that gambit play out several times. It’s a pitiful thing.

    However, no american industry has suffered more at the hands of our tort liability system than general aviation. No single factor – at least, not until the spiral in fuel prices – has driven the price of a private aircraft out of the reach of the average American than product liability insurance premiums. Berserk, bleeding-heart juries – ignorant about aviation going in, and twice as ignorant about it by the time plaintiff’s lawyers got through with them – have handed out ridiculous judgments against manufacturers time after time to the survivors of pilots and passengers whose pilots committed one utterly stupid misjudgment after another (usually running out of fuel and/or flying in weather conditions way beyond their skills).

    I’m sorry for the family of Cory Lidle, but even this particular case of rare good sense, however too little, too late is gratifying to an old pilot who watched his aviation milieu implode at that hands of our too often deeply flawed legal system.

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