Jury Awards $2 Million To Pilot's Widow

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Jurors in a federal court said last Thursday the Little Rock (Ark.) National Airport must pay over $2 million to the widow of an airline captain who died in the 1999 crash of an American Airlines MD-82, The Associated Press reported. The lawsuit alleged that the airport was negligent because the approach-light system (at the opposite end of the runway) that the jet ran into was too close to the runway and too rigid, and the overrun was less than half of the 1,000 feet it should have been. The airport's defense noted that the NTSB found the probable cause of the accident to be errors by the flight crew, including a decision to continue the approach when the "maximum crosswind component was exceeded" and "when severe thunderstorms ... had moved into the airport area," and that the crew failed to ensure that the spoilers had extended after touchdown. Eleven people, including the captain, died in the crash. The defense lawyers are considering whether to appeal.