Suit Alleges Malfunction, Mistakes

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Lawyers for the relatives of 10 victims of September's midair crash in Brazil filed suit this week in a U.S. court against ExcelAire, the owner of the Embraer Legacy jet that collided with a Boeing 737, and also named Honeywell, the manufacturer of the Legacy's transponder. "The pilots of the ExcelAire jet were flying at an incorrect altitude at the time of the collision and the ExcelAire jet's transponder ... was not functioning at the time of the collision," the lawsuit states. The suit alleges that the transponder stopped operating before the collision, which also disabled the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), and that the Legacy jet was flying at the incorrect altitude. The suit also alleges that the pilots failed to take the steps they should have after they lost radio contact with controllers, and didn't correctly use the transponder and TCAS. Design flaws in the Honeywell avionics and inadequate training of the pilots contributed to the accident, the suit alleges.