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Hendrick Motorsports and Two widows Settle with US government in Cases Relating to October 2004 Plane Crash

Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) and the widows of two former Hendrick Motorsports employees, who died in an October 2004 plane crash, settled claims with the US government in early May 2011, according to SceneDaily.com.

Hendrick Motorsports is located in Concord, N.C., about one mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway. The plane crash killed ten people - four pilots and four members of team owner's family.  Lawsuits from the accident were pending in the US Court of Appeals, when the team owner and two widows appealed a US District Court ruling in September 2010 that the air-traffic controllers were not negligent. 

The settlements involved a widow of a HMS general manager, a widow of a HMS engine builder, and Hendrick Motorspots.  The widows and the team owner believed the government shared responsibility for the actions of air-traffic controllers.  One widow alleged the air-traffic controllers did not attempt to contact the pilots though the plane descended at 2,500 feet above the end of the runway and continued toward the mountain for more than four minutes until the wreck. The team owner alleged the controllers ignored a visual and audible alarm designed to warn them the aircraft was dangerously close to terrain.

The crash in 2004 occurred when pilots, disoriented and delayed because of bad weather, began their landing five miles past where they should have at Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport in Virginia.  When the pilots executed a mandated missed approach procedure, they proceeded two miles without making a mandatory right-hand turn, and hit Bull Mountain about 27 minutes before a NASCAR Cup race started. 

This VA plane wreck is a stark reminder for pilots and air-traffic controllers to stay alert at times of bad weather conditions so lives won't be put at risk. 

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