People fly small planes because they love the freedom, the wide open sky, and the excitement. The recent scare with Southwest Airlines has shown us that large aircraft as well as small are venerable to defects. Anyone can get their pilot license with the right amout of training however military pilots are often the best pilots. So I was surprised when I learned that an Army test pilot from Yorktown, Virginia, (VA), and his sister from Virginia Beach, died in a plane crash at Chesapeake Regional Airport on Sunday evening.
Emergency crews were called to the airport about 4:30 pm when the Lancair IV, a single-engine propeller plane, crashed after takeoff. Witnesses told Virginia State Police that the plane took off, began to backfire several times and crashed in an adjacent field as the pilot apparently tried to turn back. Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane was an amateur-built, experimental aircraft.
James Lawrence Stidfole II, 45, the pilot and registered owner of the plane, and his sister, Teresa Marie Hill, 42, of Virginia Beach died upon impact, officials said. The aircraft was destroyed, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.
Our thoughts go out to the family of the pair. It is horrible that their parents lost two children so suddenly. We don't know for sure at this point what made the aircraft crash but it was the same type of aircraft, a Lancair IV-P NJ9E, that killed a jogger on the beach at Hilton Head on March 15th of last year. The investigation revealed that catastrophic crankshaft failure occurred causing the propeller to separate from the engine.
Aviation accidents and airplane crashes are subject to a wide range of laws, treaties, and regulations, and it takes dedicated, experienced counsel to successfully handle an aviation case. Our personal injury lawyers have the experience and specialized knowledge to represent individuals and families who have suffered some type of loss in an airplane accident, or other serious aviation mishap like an airplane crash. In cases involving death/fatalities, the families of a person killed can file a wrongful death claim under state laws, whether this occurs in Virginia or any other state.