NASCAR Sues Cessna

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The fatal crash of a Cessna 310R into a Sanford, Fla., neighborhood on July 10, 2007, has spawned a lawsuit prior to release of the NTSB's final report on the crash. Michael Klemm, a NASCAR pilot, and Bruce Kennedy were killed when the aircraft attempted an emergency landing, clipped a tree and crashed into two houses, in which three more people died as a result of the crash. NASCAR has already paid at least $1 million to Klemm's family and is seeking reimbursement for its payments to family members of those killed on the ground. Early investigations by the NTSB cited an aircraft mechanic's testimony that Klemm was aware of squawks with the aircraft, though the extent of his understanding of the reported problem is unknown. Aircraft records found at the accident site record a notation written by the pilot of the previous day's flight, which described a "smell of electrical components burning." According to the NTSB, there is no evidence that action was taken to address the issue. There were no witnesses found by the NTSB who could recall seeing either Klemm or Kennedy (who held a commercial pilot certificate) reviewing the aircraft's discrepancy log prior to the flight. NASCAR believes the accident was caused by faulty wiring installed by Cessna when the aircraft was built, back in 1977. Its attorneys allege that "the incident was entirely due to the negligence or fault" of Cessna and "not the negligence or fault" of NASCAR, according to Daytona Beach's News-Journal Online. Cessna's lawyers were not available for comment.