Jury Sides With Cessna In Caravan Icing Suit

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An Alaska jury has determined that Cessna Caravans do not have a design flaw that led to the deaths of 10 people in a crash near Dillingham, Alaska, in 2001. The verdict came within hours of the crash of a similar aircraft near Moscow, attributed by Russian media to icing that killed eight people. In early October, a Caravan went down in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and ice was also cited as a possible contributing factor. The pilot of that aircraft was also killed. In the Alaska case, the crash victims' families tried to convince the jury that the plane has design flaws that make it more susceptible to ice accretion. Last spring, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive making a tactile examination of the plane's lifting surfaces mandatory in icing conditions. According to KTUU TV in Anchorage, there are at least eight more icing-related suits involving Caravans underway in the U.S. The station said that as of December 2004, the NTSB had counted 26 icing-related Caravan accidents, resulting in 36 fatalities.