Fed Ordered To Pay
In ATC's Negligence Which Result In The Death Of Pilot
By Mike Mitchell
December 13, 2011 - Miami, Florida District Court Judge
Edwin G. Torres has ordered the Unites States to pay the
family of Michael Zinn, 52, $4.4 million as a result of
a Miami's Air Route Traffic Control Center air traffic
controller's negligence which was partially the cause of
Zinn's death when his airplane crashed back in October
Judge Torres? ruling supports the NTSB's determination
that one of the contributing factors was the FAA center
failed to provide information on depicted severe weather
to the pilot and the controller's delay in providing
requested navigational assistance until it was too late.
Judge Torres? judge wrote the controller ?breached his duty of care in providing complete and accurate weather briefings when it was possible to do so and highly pertinent to Zinn's route of flight." "Compounding that breach of the duty of care, he then failed to provide any navigational assistance when the pilot requested."
19, 2005, Zinn departed Boca Raton, Florida for Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina to play golf in a Cessna P337H, N5HU, which was
registered to River Aviation. While on an IFR flight, Zinn,
acting as pilot, was advised by the controller of an area of
moderate to heavy precipitation at his twelve o-clock position
five miles ahead. The Zinn stated he would deviate around the
weather on a 300 degree heading.
Examination of recorded display data showed that when Zinn
advised that he would be turning to a 300 degree heading to
avoid weather, the controller's display was showing moderate
(Level 2) and heavy (Level 3 to 4) and intense to extreme (Level
5 to 6) weather in that direction. The controller did not advise
the Zinn of the depicted weather as required by FAA Order
7110.65, paragraph 2-6-4, "Weather and Chaff Services."
weather radar images confirmed that shortly thereafter, the
airplane penetrated an intense Level 5 thunderstorm. About 1
minute after the heading change, Zinn asked the controller if
his heading was clear of weather, to which the controller
responded that he could not suggest any headings. About 2
minutes later, the pilot asked the controller if there was
weather ahead of him, and the controller did not respond.
seconds later, Zinn again asked about weather in front of him
and reported he was in "difficult shape." The controller
responded that he showed the airplane encountering "extreme
precipitation" and asked Zinn his intentions. Zinn requested a
heading and the controller responded with a suggestion that Zinn
turn 20 degrees right. Zinn acknowledged and shortly thereafter,
the airplane entered a rapid descent. Several witnesses stated
that they saw the airplane emerge from the clouds at an altitude
of about 300 feet, on its side, and descending.
They observed the
airplane maneuvering erratically before it descended and impacted a
house at a steep angle. A fire erupted, which destroyed the house and
the airplane. According to witnesses "bad weather" was present in the
area at the time of the accident, with heavy rain and lightning being
observed. A Convective SIGMET was current for an area of thunderstorms
with tops to 40,000 feet, moving little.
|blog comments powered by Disqus|
|?AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|