Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer | Aviation Accident Attorney | Helicopter Crash Lawyer

Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

Reshard Alexander serving Houston and the Texas legal community since 2011.

An aviation accident is defined by the Convention on International Civil Aviation Annex 13 as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft, which takes place from the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until all such persons have disembarked, and in which a) a person is fatally or seriously injured, b) the aircraft sustains significant damage or structural failure, or c) the aircraft goes missing or becomes completely inaccessible.[1] Annex 13 defines an aviation incident as an occurrence, other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft that affects or could affect the safety of operation.[1]

hull loss occurs if an aircraft is destroyed, damaged beyond repair, lost, or becomes completely inaccessible.[2]

Aircraft Safety

In over one hundred years of implementation, aviation safety has improved considerably. In modern times, two major manufacturers still produce heavy passenger aircraft for the civilian market: Boeing in the United States of America, and the European company Airbus. Both place huge emphasis on the use of aviation safety equipment, now a billion-dollar industry in its own right; for each, safety is a major selling point—realizing that a poor safety record in the aviation industry is a threat to corporate survival. Some major safety devices now required in commercial aircraft involve:

  • Evacuation slides – aid rapid passenger exit from an aircraft in an emergency situation[41]
  • Advanced avionics – computerized auto-recovery and alert systems[42]
  • Turbine engines – durability and failure containment improvements[43]
  • Landing gear – that can be lowered even after loss of power and hydraulics[44]

Measured on a passenger-distance calculation, air travel is the safest form of transportation available: Figures mentioned are the ones shared by the air industry when quoting air safety statistics. A typical statement, e.g., by the BBC: “UK airline operations are among the safest anywhere. When compared to all other modes of transport, on a ‘fatality per mile basis’, air transport is the safest — six times safer than traveling by car; twice as safe as rail.”[45]

When measured by fatalities per person transported, however, buses are the safest form of transportation. The number of air travel fatalities per person is surpassed only by bicycles and motorcycles. This statistic is used by the insurance industry when calculating insurance rates for air travel.[46]

Per every billion kilometers traveled, trains have a fatality rate 12 times over air travel; by comparison, fatality rates for automobiles are 62 times greater than air travel. By contrast, for every billion journeys, buses are the safest form of transportation. By the last measure, air transportation is three times more dangerous than car transportation, and almost 30 times more dangerous than bus.[47]

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

After the crash of Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907Brazilian Air Force personnel recover the flight data recorder of the flight

A 2007 study by Popular Mechanics found passengers sitting at the back of a plane are 40% more likely to survive a crash than those sitting in the front. Although this article quotes Boeing, the FAA and a website on aircraft safety, all claim there is no “safest” seat. The article studied 20 crashes, not taking into account the developments in safety after those accidents.[48] A flight data recorder is usually mounted in the aircraft’s empennage (tail section), however, where it is more likely to survive a severe crash.

Over 95% of people in U.S. plane crashes, between 1983 and 2000, survived.[49]

In efforts to prevent incidents such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a new standard has been issued for all commercial aircraft to report their position every 15 minutes to air traffic controllers regardless of the country of origin. The regulation was taken into effect in 2016 by the ICAO, and requires no new aircraft equipment so long as airlines adhere to it. This requirement is part of a long-term plan, in which by 2020 ICAO will require new aircraft be fitted with data broadcast systems that air traffic controllers are in constant contact with. The plan is called Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System.[50]

United States civil aviation incidents are investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). NTSB officials piece together evidence from the crash site to determine likely cause, or causes. The NTSB also investigates overseas incidents involving US-registered aircraft, in collaboration with local investigative authorities, especially when there is significant loss of American lives, or when the involved aircraft is American built.[81]

Helicopter Crash Lawyer

helicopter, sometimes referred to in slang as a “chopper” or “helo” (United States military usage, pronounced with a long “e”), is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally-spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward, and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) aircraft cannot perform.

The English word helicopter is adapted from the French word hélicoptère, coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix (ἕλιξ) “helix, spiral, whirl, convolution”[1] and pteron (πτερόν) “wing”.[2][3][4][5] English language nicknames for helicopter include “chopper”, “copter”, “helo”, “heli”, and “whirlybird”.

Helicopters were developed and built during the first half-century of flight, with the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 being the first operational helicopter in 1936. Some helicopters reached limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production,[6] with 131 aircraft built.[7] Though most earlier designs used more than one main rotor, it is the single main rotor with anti-torque tail rotor configuration that has become the most common helicopter configuration. Tandem rotor helicopters are also in widespread use due to their greater payload capacity. Coaxial helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and compound helicopters are all flying today. Quadcopter helicopters were pioneered as early as 1907 in France, and other types of multicopter have been developed for specialized applications such as unmanned drones.

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

Maximum speed limit

There are several reasons a helicopter cannot fly as fast as a fixed-wing aircraft. When the helicopter is hovering, the outer tips of the rotor travel at a speed determined by the length of the blade and the rotational speed. In a moving helicopter, however, the speed of the blades relative to the air depends on the speed of the helicopter as well as on their rotational speed. The airspeed of the advancing rotor blade is much higher than that of the helicopter itself. It is possible for this blade to exceed the speed of sound, and thus produce vastly increased drag and vibration.

At the same time, the advancing blade creates more lift traveling forward, the retreating blade produces less lift. If the aircraft were to accelerate to the air speed that the blade tips are spinning, the retreating blade passes through air moving at the same speed of the blade and produces no lift at all, resulting in very high torque stresses on the central shaft that can tip down the retreating-blade side of the vehicle, and cause a loss of control. Dual counter-rotating blades prevent this situation due to having two advancing and two retreating blades with balanced forces.

Because the advancing blade has higher airspeed than the retreating blade and generates a dissymmetry of lift, rotor blades are designed to “flap” – lift and twist in such a way that the advancing blade flaps up and develops a smaller angle of attack. Conversely, the retreating blade flaps down, develops a higher angle of attack, and generates more lift. At high speeds, the force on the rotors is such that they “flap” excessively, and the retreating blade can reach too high an angle and stall. For this reason, the maximum safe forward airspeed of a helicopter is given a design rating called VNEvelocity, never exceed.[80] In addition, it is possible for the helicopter to fly at an airspeed where an excessive amount of the retreating blade stalls, which results in high vibration, pitch-up, and roll into the retreating blade.

Noise

Eurocopter EC120 helicopter demonstrates its agility with a barrel roll

During the closing years of the 20th century designers began working on helicopter noise reduction. Urban communities have often expressed great dislike of noisy aviation or noisy aircraft, and police and passenger helicopters can be unpopular because of the sound. The redesigns followed the closure of some city heliports and government action to constrain flight paths in national parks and other places of natural beauty.

Vibration

Helicopters also vibrate; an unadjusted helicopter can easily vibrate so much that it will shake itself apart. To reduce vibration, all helicopters have rotor adjustments for height and weight. Blade height is adjusted by changing the pitch of the blade. Weight is adjusted by adding or removing weights on the rotor head and/or at the blade end caps. Most also have vibration dampers for height and pitch. Some also use mechanical feedback systems to sense and counter vibration. Usually the feedback system uses a mass as a “stable reference” and a linkage from the mass operates a flap to adjust the rotor’s angle of attack to counter the vibration. Adjustment is difficult in part because measurement of the vibration is hard, usually requiring sophisticated accelerometers mounted throughout the airframe and gearboxes. The most common blade vibration adjustment measurement system is to use a stroboscopic flash lamp, and observe painted markings or coloured reflectors on the underside of the rotor blades. The traditional low-tech system is to mount coloured chalk on the rotor tips, and see how they mark a linen sheet. Gearbox vibration most often requires a gearbox overhaul or replacement. Gearbox or drive train vibrations can be extremely harmful to a pilot. The most severe being pain, numbness, loss of tactile discrimination and dexterity.

Loss of tail-rotor effectiveness

For a standard helicopter with a single main rotor, the tips of the main rotor blades produce a vortex ring in the air, which is a spiraling and circularly rotating airflow. As the craft moves forward, these vortices trail off behind the craft.

When hovering with a forward diagonal crosswind, or moving in a forward diagonal direction, the spinning vortices trailing off the main rotor blades will align with the rotation of the tail rotor and cause an instability in flight control.[81]

When the trailing vortices colliding with the tail rotor are rotating in the same direction, this causes a loss of thrust from the tail rotor. When the trailing vortices rotate in the opposite direction of the tail rotor, thrust is increased. Use of the foot pedals is required to adjust the tail rotor’s angle of attack, to compensate for these instabilities.

These issues are due to the exposed tail rotor cutting through open air around rear of the vehicle. This issue disappears when the tail is instead ducted, using an internal impeller enclosed in the tail and a jet of high pressure air sideways out of the tail, as the main rotor vortices can not impact the operation of an internal impeller.

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

Critical wind azimuth

For a standard helicopter with a single main rotor, maintaining steady flight with a crosswind presents an additional flight control problem, where strong crosswinds from certain angles will increase or decrease lift from the main rotors. This effect is also triggered in a no-wind condition when moving the craft diagonally in various directions, depending on the direction of main rotor rotation.[82]

This can lead to a loss of control and a crash or hard landing when operating at low altitudes, due to the sudden unexpected loss of lift, and insufficient time and distance available to recover.

Transmission

Conventional rotary-wing aircraft use a set of complex mechanical gearboxes to convert the high rotation speed of gas turbines into the low speed required to drive main and tail rotors. Unlike powerplants, mechanical gearboxes cannot be duplicated (for redundancy) and have always been a major weak point in helicopter reliability. In-flight catastrophic gear failures often result in gearbox jamming and subsequent fatalities, whereas loss of lubrication can trigger onboard fire.[citation needed] Another weakness of mechanical gearboxes is their transient power limitation, due to structural fatigue limits. Recent EASA studies point to engines and transmissions as prime cause of crashes just after pilot errors.[83]

By contrast, electromagnetic transmissions do not use any parts in contact; hence lubrication can be drastically simplified, or eliminated. Their inherent redundancy offers good resilience to single point of failure. The absence of gears enables high power transient without impact on service life. The concept of electric propulsion applied to helicopter and electromagnetic drive was brought to reality by Pascal Chretien who designed, built and flew world’s first man-carrying, free-flying electric helicopter. The concept was taken from the conceptual computer-aided design model on 10 September 2010 to the first testing at 30% power on 1 March 2011 – less than six months. The aircraft first flew on 12 August 2011. All development was conducted in Venelles, France.[84][85]

Hazards

As with any moving vehicle, unsafe operation could result in loss of control, structural damage, or loss of life. The following is a list of some of the potential hazards for helicopters:

  • Settling with power is when the aircraft has insufficient power to arrest its descent. This hazard can develop into Vortex ring state if not corrected early.[86]
  • Vortex ring state is a hazard induced by a combination of low airspeed, high power setting, and high descent rate. Rotor-tip vortices circulate from the high pressure air below the rotor disk to low pressure air above the disk, so that the helicopter settles into its own descending airflow.[86] Adding more power increases the rate of air circulation and aggravates the situation. It is sometimes confused with settling with power, but they are aerodynamically different.
  • Retreating blade stall is experienced during high speed flight and is the most common limiting factor of a helicopter’s forward speed.
  • Ground resonance is a self-reinforcing vibration that occurs when the lead/lag spacing of the blades of an articulated rotor system becomes irregular.
  • Low-G condition is an abrupt change from a positive G-force state to a negative G-force state that results in loss of lift (unloaded disc) and subsequent roll over. If aft cyclic is applied while the disc is unloaded, the main rotor could strike the tail causing catastrophic failure.[87]
  • Dynamic rollover in which the helicopter pivots around one of the skids and ‘pulls’ itself onto its side (almost like a fixed-wing aircraft ground loop).
  • Powertrain failures, especially those that occur within the shaded area of the height-velocity diagram.
  • Tail rotor failures which occur from either a mechanical malfunction of the tail rotor control system or a loss of tail rotor thrust authority, called “loss of tail-rotor effectiveness” (LTE).
  • Brownout in dusty conditions or whiteout in snowy conditions.
  • Low rotor RPM, or “rotor droop”, is when the engine cannot drive the blades at sufficient RPM to maintain flight.
  • Rotor overspeed, which can over-stress the rotor hub pitch bearings (brinelling) and, if severe enough, cause blade separation from the aircraft.
  • Wire and tree strikes due to low altitude operations and take-offs and landings in remote locations.[88]
  • Controlled flight into terrain in which the aircraft is flown into the ground unintentionally due to a lack of situational awareness.
  • Mast bumping in some helicopters[89]

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

List of fatal crashes

Deadliest helicopter crashes by death toll
Date Operator Aircraft Event and location Death toll
19 August 2002 Russia Mil Mi-26 Shot down over Chechnya 127
9 December 1982 Nicaragua Mil Mi-8 Shot down by Sandinistan rebels while carrying 88 people. All 84 passengers were killed and all four crew members survived.[90] 84
4 February 1997 Israel Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion (x2) Collision over Israel 73
14 December 1992 Russia (Russian Air Force) Mil Mi-8 Shot down by Georgian forces in Abkhazia using SA-14 MANPADs, despite heavy escort. Three crew and 58 passengers, composed of mainly Russian refugees.[91] 61
4 October 1993 Georgia Mil Mi-8 Shot down by Russian forces when transporting 60 refugees from eastern Abkhazia; all on board were killed.[91] 60
10 May 1977 Israel CH-53 Crash near Yitav in the Jordan Valley 54
8 January 1968 United States Sikorsky CH-53A Sea Stallion, USMC Crash near Đông Hà Combat Base in South Vietnam. All five crew and 41 passengers were killed. 46[92]
11 July 1972 United States Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion, USMC Shot down by missile near Quảng Trị in South Vietnam. Six US Marines and 50 Vietnamese Marines on board. Three US Marines and 43 Vietnamese Marines were killed. 46[93]
11 September 1982 United States Boeing CH-47 ChinookU.S. Army Crash at an air show in Mannheim, then located in West Germany. 46[94]
6 November 1986 British International Helicopters Boeing 234LR Chinook Crash in the Shetland Islands 45
28 January 1992 Azerbaijan Mil Mi-8 Shootdown 44
3 July 2009 Pakistan (Pakistan Army) Mil Mi-17 Crash 41
6 August 2011 United States CH-47 Chinook Shootdown, Afghanistan 38[95]
18 August 1971 United States CH-47 Chinook, US Army Crash near Pegnitz, then located in West Germany. All four crew and 33 passengers were killed. 37[96]
26 January 2005 United States Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion, USMC Crash landed near Ar RutbahIraq 31[97]

Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Reshard Alexander

Seeking a Free Consultation with one of Texas’ Houston Airplane Accident Lawyers? Call the Houston Airplane Crash Lawyer Reshard Alexander today at 713.766.3322.

Reshard Alexander serving Houston and the Texas legal community since 2011.

Texas Practice Areas
Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
Houston Auto Accident Lawyer
Houston Work Accident Lawyer
Houston Dog Bite Lawyer

Attorney Reshard Alexander – Big Rig Bull Texas Truck Accident Lawyer represents clients in all Texas counties, including: Anderson, Andrews, Angelina, Aransas, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Austin, Bailey, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Camp, Carson, Cass, Castro, Chambers, Cherokee,Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, DeWitt, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Frio, Gaines, Galveston, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Hardin, Harris County Car Accident Lawyer, Harrison, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Howard, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kenedy, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, La Salle, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Madison, Marion, Martin, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Moore, Morris, Motley, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nolan, Nueces, Ochiltree, Oldham, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Red River, Reeves, Refugio, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Shelby, Sherman, Smith, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Ward, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, Young, Zapata, and Zavala counties; and all Texas cities, including: Houston Car Accident Lawyer, Aldine Car Accident Lawyer , Algoa Car Accident Lawyer, Alief Car Accident Lawyer, Alvin Car Accident Lawyer, Anahuac Car Accident Lawyer, Angleton Car Accident Lawyer, Atascocita Car Accident Lawyer, Bay City Car Accident Lawyer, Bayou Vista Car Accident Lawyer, Baytown Car Accident Lawyer, Bellaire Car Accident Lawyer, Bellville TX Car Accident Lawyer, Beaumont Car Accident Lawyer, Brazoria Car Accident Lawyer, Brenham Car Accident Lawyer, Brookshire Car Accident Lawyer, Bryan Car Accident Lawyer, Cedar Creek Car Accident Lawyer, Channelview Car Accident Lawyer, China TX Car Accident Lawyer, Clear Lake City Car Accident Lawyer, Cleveland TX Car Accident Lawyer, Clute Car Accident Lawyer, Columbus TX Car Accident Lawyer, College Station Car Accident Lawyer, Conroe Car Accident Lawyer, Crosby Car Accident Lawyer, Cypress Car Accident Lawyer, Dayton Car Accident Lawyer, Deer Park Car Accident Lawyer, Dickinson Car Accident Lawyer, Eagle Lake Car Accident Lawyer, East Bernard Car Accident Lawyer, Edna Car Accident Lawyer, El Campo Car Accident Lawyer, Elmgrove Car Accident Lawyer, Flatonia Car Accident Lawyer, Freeport Car Accident Lawyer, Fresno Car Accident Lawyer, Friendswood Car Accident Lawyer, Fulshear TX Car Accident Lawyer, Galena Park Car Accident Lawyer, Galveston Car Accident Lawyer, Ganado TX Car Accident Lawyer, Garden Villas Car Accident Lawyer, Hardin Car Accident Lawyer, Hearne Car Accident Lawyer, Hempstead Car Accident Lawyer, Hillcrest Car Accident Lawyer, Hitchcock Car Accident Lawyer, Hockley TX Car Accident Lawyer, Humble Car Accident Lawyer, Huntsville Car Accident Lawyer, Inez Car Accident Lawyer, Jacinto City Car Accident Lawyer, Jamaica Beach Car Accident Lawyer, Jersey Village Car Accident Lawyer, Katy Car Accident Lawyer, Kemah Car Accident Lawyer, Kingwood TX Car Accident Lawyer, La Marque Car Accident Lawyer, La Porte Car Accident Lawyer, Lake Jackson Car Accident Lawyer, League City Car Accident Lawyer, Liberty TX Car Accident Lawyer, Liverpool TX Car Accident Lawyer, Livingston TX Car Accident Lawyer, Long Point TX Car Accident Lawyer, Louise TX Car Accident Lawyer, Lufkin Car Accident Lawyer, Madisonville Car Accident Lawyer, Magnolia Car Accident Lawyer, Meadows Place Car Accident Lawyer, Missouri City Car Accident Lawyer, Montgomery Car Accident Lawyer, Morgan’s Point Car Accident Lawyer, Moss Hill Car Accident Lawyer, Mount Belvieu Car Accident Lawyer, Nacogdoches Car Accident Lawyer, Navasota Car Accident Lawyer, Nassau Bay Car Accident Lawyer, Needville Car Accident Lawyer, Pasadena TX Car Accident Lawyer, Pearland Car Accident Lawyer, Port Bolivar Car Accident Lawyer, Porter Car Accident Lawyer, Prairie View Car Accident Lawyer, Richmond Car Accident Lawyer, Rosenberg Car Accident Lawyer, Rosharon Car Accident Lawyer, San Leon Car Accident Lawyer, Seabrook Car Accident Lawyer, Schulenburg Car Accident Lawyer, Sealy Car Accident Lawyer, Shenandoah Car Accident Lawyer, Shoreacres Car Accident Lawyer, Southside Place Car Accident Lawyer, Spring Car Accident Lawyer, Spring Branch Car Accident Lawyer, Stafford Car Accident Lawyer, Sugar Land Car Accident Lawyer, Texas City Car Accident Lawyer, Todd Mission Car Accident Lawyer, Tomball Car Accident Lawyer, Van Vleck Car Accident Lawyer, Waller TX Car Accident Lawyer, Webster Car Accident Lawyer, West Columbia TX Car Accident Lawyer, Wharton Car Accident Lawyer, Willis TX Car Accident Lawyer, Winnie Car Accident Lawyer, and The Woodlands Car Accident Lawyer.