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General Aviation Mechanic Lied About Completing Annual, Hit with $13 million verdict

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Charged Cessna owner for new parts, didn't install them; said he completed annual but only changed the oil. Pilot seat slips in flight, pilot is killed. (www.aviationlawmonitor.com) 기타...

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joelwiley
joel wiley 16
Wouldn't his actions be considered gross negligence leading to death? Would that support a charge of involuntary manslaughter?
sparkie624
Yeah.. to the 10th degree and above.
bbabis
bbabis 1
I agree with your feelings Joel. This was the civil trial though about money and not prison time. I have not heard if a criminal trial has been associated with this event. Maybe he beat the criminal rap and this civil judge nailed him with what he/she could.
sparkie624
It probably will be... You can be sure that the FAA is involved
joelwiley
In looking into the matter, the crash was in 2009. The statute of limitations on manslaughter has expired. I did find a reference to the court records of the civil case if anyone is interested at:
http://openaccess1.sanmateocourt.org/openaccess/civil/casereport.asp?casenumber=501501&casetype=CIV&courtcode=A
DLipsitz
California court web sites can't be hot linked that way, it just dumps any attempt at the starting search screen. Fortunately, the case number, court code, and that it is civil court, are contained within the link. :)
joelwiley
Oops, my bad. Thanks for letting me know.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
It is my understanding the State of California imposes no Statute of Limitations on manslaughter. ... "In California, there is no statute of limitations for manslaughter and murder. This means that charges may be brought against you at any time in your life. The prosecution must still prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Since the circumstances surrounding the case; degree of severity; the defendant’s state of mind and the defendant’s background are extremely important in California manslaughter cases, a good lawyer will focus on supportive documentation and testimony to prove your innocence or reduce the charges against you."
joelwiley
Murder has no SOL, manslaughter is different. Serious felonies ( 8yrs or more) SOL is 6 years, lesser felonies 3 years, misdemeanors 1 year. Involuntary manslaughter is 2 years, didn't find reference to voluntary. Here are the CA codes
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=799-805
(live link seems to work 8-) )
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
It appears it just depends on what site you look at.
joelwiley
In Calif, manslaughter is a wobbler- the DA can pursue it as a felony or a misdemeanor. The site I posted is the Calif Law and Regs website
bovineone
The failures of the Cessna seat rails on departure are actually disturbingly common. You can usually find someone who has experienced such a failure (and luckily recovering) by talking to enough piston Cessna pilots. Fortunately an AD was issued in 2011 for it. http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2011/May/19/New-AD-issued-for-Cessna-seat-latch-mechanisms
WALLACE24
Pretty common indeed. Many years ago I rented a 172 to take my daughter for a ride. Luckily mine didn't jamb in the rear position but I certainly moved smartly. Slide length may be longer in a 182 and present even more difficulty.
TorstenHoff
Yup, scary to even think about. If the PIC panics and holds onto the joke while sliding back the NTSB findings might just show inadvertent stall due pilot error.
Searcher06
An AD has been around for many years concerning Cessna seat latches/stops. This one referenced was adding additional measures to the existing inspection.
Viperguy46
Yepper...happened to me several years ago in a C-182...luckily I am 6'2" tall and pulled myself back into flying position....Thought it was my fought for not locking the seat properly!
sparkie624
This guy needs to be hung up from a pole.... There is no reason or toleration for this.. He got off way too lightly.
pilot62
Good luck getting a dime from this dip stick !
flygirl620se
The family now has a judgement against this a-hole and can now lien just about everything he earns and owns. The sad part is they will probably have to chase him to get anything out of him. This judgement pretty much ruins his credit for purchasing anything other buying with cash. He will probably now file for bankruptcy to avoid the judgement. I hope this case receives the notoriety that it should amongst aircraft owners everywhere and runs him out of business.
mattwestuk
In the UK, they prosecuted a plumber for not installing a natural gas hot water heater properly with manslaughter. The unit leaked Carbon Monoxide and killed the resident. Why do we hardly see such similar prosecutions here in the US?
deboyd
His actions definitly contributed to the Dr.'s demise. I have experienced seat stop failure in a cessna on take off and ended up unable to reach the controls. It is a very bad feeling knowing there is no time to do anything before aircraft stalls. Fortunatly I had a flight instructor with me that day for bi-annual review and he recovered the aircraft or I would not be writing this.
twincessna
Most cessna models are to have rail blocks added because of prior failures in the 70s
DLipsitz
I find it curious that the NTSB was so quick to wrongly blame the pilot. Worse still, Faride Khalaf is allowed to retain his mechanic license. I would like to believe that the publicity from this would result in a rapid decline in business for Khalaf, perhaps encouraging him to seek a profession in the fast food industry. Unfortunately, I live in the real world, and know there will always be those willing to risk their own lives to save a buck or two.
preacher1
It was obvious what happened. The emphasis of the investigation should have been WHY.
silcalifano
He got fired from United Airlines and that's a big red flag, because his union couldn't save him from that! I've worked with lazy and sloppy mechanics in my career and they eventually always get fired.
jpcooper
Surely this " mechanic " will have Public liability insurance cover ?
preacher1
Unless he has some good insurance, right or wrong, I don't see $13million forthcoming and even if he has insurance, if they can prove fraud, it may not pay. As far as the comments below, we have all heard the horror stories of those who cut corners but as one said, sometimes it is pilot/owner pressure to pass around something. It's a two way street.
sparkie624
insurance will not cover a fine... It will only cover liability. If you purposely do something wrong, the insurance is not going to pay...
mariescreations
I am going to propose that due to the severity of this accident and the amount of destruction to the airplane that there may have been another reason this accident happened (this is one of my pet peeves). I am of the opinion that a large number of takeoff accidents in a Cessna with electric flaps is the failure of the inter flap cable. If this cable frays in two in the center section of the cabin with the flaps down, the left flap instantly retracts and the airplane immediately turns violently to the left. The right flap remains in the down position. The maneuver temporarily alarms the pilot and unless he has considerable altitude, he may not recover the out of control airplane before it hits the ground. Aileron control alone will not correct the turn and if the pilot has not had tailwheel training and is not practiced with using the left rudder pedal to control adverse yaw, there is a very good chance bad things will happen before a recovery is made.

In either case, the mechanic who inspected the airplane and failed to find this nearly frayed cable or failed to repair the seat track system has to assume liability if either one fails and an accident results.

In the case of this accident, the mystery is why the pilot's seat belt was unfastened. Did he slide the seat back and unfasten his belt as the airplane contacted the ground in order to escape faster? Quite possibly not, but at this point it is hard to prove one way or the other.
mariescreations
Correction - it is right rudder input to correct the adverse yaw to the left turning direction.
Viperguy46
Pepper...happened to me years ago...luckyly being 6'2" I was able to pull mydelf back to flying position! Thought it was my fought for not checking seat locks! Young and bold!
Tmsfan
He should have his license revoked by the FAA!!!
sparkie624
If he has not.. He will have it revoked soon.
Tmsfan
Who would give him a job? No aviation company's will. Not with that back ground.
sparkie624
Surprising, it is hard to find out that kind of info... An ex-employer cannot disclose that info for fear of being sued... If the FAA does not take his license for what ever reason, he can just continue on... and Americans as a whole have a very short memory and will not remember it in 2 months if it is not actively in the news.
96flstc
96flstc 1
What's worse are the IA's who casually sign off the annual without ever inspecting the aircraft, or some who perform a "drive by" annual. This practice is fairly common. Ive never seen an FAA Advisor follow up on a just signed off annual. Not that they would know what they are looking at.

A word of caution, beware of Cessna set pan repairs. Study the appendix of Part 43
flygirl620se
A tragic situation of misplaced trust. We all depend on the integrity of our A and P's to do the right thing. I would suspect this is not the only instance where Khalaf has cut corners or didn't perform proper maintenance and repair. I hope his past customers have their aircraft re-inspected and then run this guy out of town on rail (preferably tarred and feathered). It would be interesting to know the reason he was fired from United. The saddest part is that he will probably file for bankruptcy to avoid the judgement against him. Until then, I hope the family liens everything this jackass owns.
maxstoke1
No monetary fine will replace a life and the distress to relatives and friends left behind. He would have known the possible consequences of his shoddy/ deceitful work and I agree with Joel Wiley. He should be incarcerated without any privileges.
jodash
Thanks for the Info Joel
mtovani
I am always a little suspect of people that write their own articles to self-promote themselves. It has the making of an ambulance chaser on it.
twincessna
NTSB ruled pilot error, as a prosecutor you don't want the defendant using Feds as your star wittinesses against the State. Family is compensated Dr. Is gone and pilots and owners should check as much work as possible.
ADXbear
ADXbear 1
GOOD.. To bad it had to cote at the cost of a life... ALL A&P's should take heed.. we all know a few that might shave a few corners here and there.. please don't
linbb
linbb 6
If you know any that do tell there employer and the FAA. I am a licensed A&P and I never worked around anyone that did. But of corse there are those pilots with bar stool tails of those who did. I have found pilots cutting corners or owners trying to pressure a mechanic into not fixing something or not doing a proper job on the repair to save a buck.
Deano1952
Who is supposed to ensure that an aircraft is safe for flight? Oh ya, the Pilot in Command. Seems the good Doctor was just as much as fault with this as was the pencil whipping mechanic. Also, did the Doctor ensure seat was properly latched in place before takeoff? It is quite easy to apply more pressure on the seat stops by pushing your feet against the rudder pedals than would be applied when the aircraft is in a climb attitude.
sparkie624
In theory the IA and Mechanic... Ultimately for day to day ops it is the pilot that needs to write things that come up between inspections... Mechanics cannot inspect an a/c before every flight... A good walk around is good. This guy lets down the entire system by just writing things off and collecting the money... As a fellow mechanic, I have no compassion for this person as it makes us all look bad.

I know as a Maintenance Controller, If I am not satisfied with a Mechanics work, we do not let the plane go, and yes I have stopped a plane because I was not happy with the maintenance that was done, and if need be I will do it again.
joelwiley
Sparkie624, from the your perspective, how does anyone (piot mechanic, etc) deal with falsified records? The seat was 'fixed' and the annual inspection was 'done'. Trust but verify can only go so far.
sparkie624
That is a tough one... If you go to a replicable facility usually with an office front end or a good FBO, they are usually pretty good. It is usually the ones where a guy working a lone doing the work, inspection and maintenance is where you have those problems... If you have one of those guys working your plane then offer to help. If he won't let you then go somewhere else.
skylab72
skylab72 2
We all understand the PIC responsibility, but there are thousands of little things you could check on any given pre-flight but rarely chose to because at some point you run out of time and have no choice but to trust the last A&P that signed off on each sub-system. As an Acft Mech this guy offends me to the absolute max. He needs to be strung up.
bbabis
bbabis 1
You're not getting much love here Dean. What I will say is that, like most articles, we are getting half the story and it paints a pretty bleak picture of the other half. I am in no way standing up for the shoddy mechanic but, if the doctor was getting half priced annuals done overnight , he should have known what was happening and would share in the cause of the accident.
DSHartje
This is another example of slick layers stealing money from innocent third parties!
TorstenHoff
The jury disagrees with you and found the defendant liable. Given the evidence and the defendant's past conduct I wouldn't call him innocent, and he certainly isn't a third party.
sparkie624
I do not disagree with the jury... I disagreed with the term " slick layers stealing money..." As far as the penalty, he got off easy in my book... This guy should be serving hard time in prison... Under our license we can be held liable for 1 count of Man Slaughter per every life lost on board.... IE, if we have 100 lives lost onboard an aircraft as a result of maintenance that we did, then we would be held personally accountable and be subject to prosecution for 100 counts of man slaughter. I know this is extreme, but that is what can happen in a worse case scenario.
DSHartje
Ok. Maybe I overstated it, but not $13 million!
TorstenHoff
Damages are determined by a number of factors, including loss of income. That means the family of a prominent doctor is going to get more money than the family of a McDonalds cashier. Damages can also be doubled or tripled as a punitive measure if there was gross or wilful negligence.

If you read the article you would know that the defendant had the opportunity to avoid the trial by surrendering his aircraft mechanic license. The family was willing to not take one cent from him if they could ensure that others wouldn't fall victim to him in the future -- he chose to let justice run its course.
DSHartje
I get the point.
WALLACE24
That will be a"on paper" payday cause I'm bettin the jack weed mx don't have have squat. They'll be lucky to see $100k gross.
DSHartje
Please do keep in mind how much this layer will make. Probably 30%. That's about $4,000,000!!!
Bernie20910
I was beginning to wonder if your keyboard had a functioning "w" key on it, but there's one right there in the word "how", so I can only assume you don't know how to spell "lawyer". Please, if you're going to trash talk about a profession at least spell it right.
sparkie624
I disagree... As a mechanic myself, this guy makes us all look bad.. They needed to hit him hard and they did... I would have liked to have seen him get jail time for this as what he did was criminal. He got off way to easy. Normally I would agree with you, but not in this case.
DSHartje
I understand the setting a precedent not to lie, but the pilot in command is ultimately in command of the aircraft. Also how much is that layer going to make?
sparkie624
Not much... Keep in mind that legally the airworthiness of an a/c is basically a signed piece of paper saying that all the inspections have been completed satisfactorily. In legal terms it was an airworthy a/c and the fact that the guy did not do what he said he did technically does not affect the legal term... However, he did this to such a degree that it dramatically affected the safety of a/c that a Legally Airworthy a/c is now unfit to fly because of incomplete inspections and maintenance.

If it has not happened yet, I hope the FAA yanks this guys IA and A&P license... There is no excuse of this action.
skylab72
skylab72 0
Proving 'beyond a reasonable doubt' would be difficult in this case, but someone ought to take a run at it, this subhuman needs to be removed fron circulation. If he shows up in some of the shops I frequent, his life expectency will fall dramatically.
TorstenHoff
Reasonable doubt is the legal burden of proof in criminal cases, not in civil matters where a simple preponderance of evidence is sufficient.
Guycocoa
This past summer the ride I was expecting from a downtown Chicago hotel to MDW didn't materialize. The bellman arranged for a livery car driver to take me to the airport ASAP. Along the way the driver, without any prompting, told me he was Palestinian and he started complaining about the mayor of Chicago, who is Jewish. The driver stated that jewish people are the most racist people in the world and if he had his way he would kill them all.

Given his last name the doctor in this event was probably Jewish. Based on his name the mechanic is probably Muslim. I know this is a stretch, and what I described above is just an anecdote, but could their different ethnicities been a motivation for the mechanic? Instead of negligence, was this possibly intentional?
preacher1
That is a stretch, but I guess anything is possible.

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