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Van's lawsuit could threaten kitplane industry

PUBLISHED: 10:19 30 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:19 30 October 2015

Van's president, Scott Risan has indicated the $35 million lawsuit filed against Van's Aircraft in Oregon, could result in damage to the whole kit aircraft business.

During an interview with Reuters, Risan explained it’s not just Van’s that will be on trial and warned “It’s up to the builder to use good judgment when they are building and maintaining the airplane. The lawsuit seems to be kind of attacking the industry in general and that’s unfortunate.”

The lawsuit has been filed by the family of a four-year-old girl who died in an RV-10 flown by her step-grandfather. They claimed that the kit manufacturers have created an arbitrary expectation that low skilled people can successfully build safe aircraft.

In May 2014, Doug Nebert, an experienced RV builder from Newport, Oregon, crashed his RV-10 during take off from Toledo after experiencing engine trouble. Both Nebert and his step-granddaughter Zoe Wahl died and Zoe’s mother April Gleason was severely injured.

The family’s lawyer Matthew Clarke, has blamed the combination of inadequate building instructions and faulty Floscan Instruments in the suit, claiming the fuel flow transducer supplied by Reuters was unsafe. However the National Transportation Safety Board blamed Nebert’s “improper maintenance practices”, claiming a blocked fuel line in a recently installed fuel flow transducer caused the loss of engine power, resulting in the crash. The suit alleges a bypass around the transducer would have prevented the blockage.

Story attributed to Russ Niles, ABweb. Read the original news story here.

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