Las Vegas Stunt Plane Crashes Killing Two
The general aviation accident attorneys at Bohrer & Lukeman are following the events surrounding a small plane crash that took place last month near Las Vegas, Nevada.
On April 30, a stunt plane from the tour company Sky Combat Ace crashed near Jean, Nevada, killing the pilot and his passenger. According to preliminary reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the stunt plane was heading northeast before it impacted mountainous terrain.
The single-engine Extra EA-300/L, registered to Vegas Extreme Adventures LLC, was supposedly performing “air combat” maneuvers before it crashed into the hilltop. The incident took place during a paid excursion as a part of one of the company’s “Sky Combat” experiences.
According to the Sky Combat Ace website, the company offers extreme stunt plane rides in acrobatic aircraft for paying customers.
“Sky Combat Ace offers a truly unique aviation experience at a whole new level of adrenaline,” reads the company’s website. “At SCA, you’re not just a passenger on a joy ride. You are a steely-eyed fighter pilot at the controls of your very own ‘fighter jet,’ pulling Gs and squeezing the trigger to ‘get the kill.’”
The website indicates that the flight tour allows the student to fly and control the acrobatic plane while the instructor teaches “the art of aerial dogfighting.” The company has a history of noted safety issues and at least five different safety concerns are documented in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NTSB records for the five years the company has been operating.
Video from Sky Combat Ace’s website shows the extreme nature of the tours the company offers:
While none of the past safety issues resulted in injury, one incident involved the same Extra EA-300/L airplane that crashed on April 30. According to FAA officials ,the plane was involved in a dangerous, low-flying maneuver over the Colorado River in March 2015.
A September 2015 letter from the FAA to the pilot of the flight reads: “Your operation of N330MT, in the manner and circumstances … was careless or reckless so as to endanger the life or property of another.” The pilot was suspended for 135 days for violating FAA regulations.
According to the NTSB report of the April 30 crash, the incident occurred about 30 minutes after take-off from the Henderson Executive Airport. The plane crashed about 12 miles south of the airport and left a path of debris around 800 feet long.
“Information provided by the company representatives revealed that the accident plane departed and rendezvoused with two other company airplanes to conduct a simulated air to air combat mission,” the NTSB report says. “Two airplanes at a time would maneuver against each other while the other airplane observed from a safe distance.”
After the in-air combat simulation, all three aircraft were supposed to return to the Henderson Executive Airport. The first two planes arrived safely back to the airport but then realized the third aircraft was missing. The company sent an airplane to conduct a search and the plane wreckage was discovered a short time later.
The NTSB recovered all of the major parts of the plane and will further examine them to determine a cause of the crash and file a final accident report.
Abram Bohrer, an aviation lawyer in New York City, recently commented on this accident. “These adventure companies are feeding adrenaline junkies’ needs to continue to push the envelope and regularly place ordinary people, with no flight experience, in very dangerous situations. Adventure tourists feel that they are 100% safe in these situations, and they are not. They are playing with numbers and statistics. Whether it’s aerial combat simulation, skydiving, or stunt flying, things go wrong and people will get hurt and die. It is grossly irresponsible of these businesses to continue to subject these folks to such a high risk of harm, and the authorities need to step in and reconsider the wisdom, and legality, of these outfitters.” lamented Bohrer.
Bohrer & Lukeman is an aviation accident and injury law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. It’s founder, Abram Bohrer has nearly 25 years of experience representing victims of air disasters, in-flight accidents, and general aviation crashes from around the world. The airplane crash lawyers at Bohrer & Lukeman are monitoring the NTSB and FAA reports regarding last month’s incident. The general aviation law firm is following the story for any updates and will simultaneously conduct its own review of the plane crash. Be sure to visit our website and blog at www.flightinjury.com for further updates.