Helicopter crashes are occurring at an alarming rate. By the very nature of the aircraft, when something goes wrong there is no room for error and the helicopter goes down—usually hard. Landing an out of control helicopter is nearly impossible. The two major issues with helicopter crashes are pilot error and/or mechanical failure due to some type of negligence.
Helicopter Touring is a very popular attraction in Las Vegas, mimicking the flights that have made Hawaii a popular destination for seeing from the air. The local businesses in Las Vegas continue to run flights to and from the Grand Canyon offering sight seeing of the Colorado river. Pilot experience is often questioned with these helicopter operators, given the lower wage and training in “entry level” commercial aviation.
Helicopter operators providing scenic tours are often faced with balancing the risks of operations versus the financial considerations of canceling flights. In the past decade there has been an alarming rate of fatal helicopter crashes involving sightseeing tours. Pilots are pressured to fly at lower altitude and in close proximity to objects and points of interest, such as the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas Strip, to provide passengers with a scenic experience. Almost all of the helicopter crashes relating to the tourism industry are the result of negligence.
Consistently helicopter tour operations maintain inadequate risk assessment valuations when considering imposing weather and environmental factors. High winds swirling through the Grand Canyon provide critically dangerous operating conditions. Unfortunately helicopter tour operators are often faced with revenue considerations versus the risk and pressure to continue operations in marginal weather. To fly or not to fly is within the discretion of the pilot. Many, if not most helicopter tour operations lack pilot oversight or supervision leaving the lives of the passengers within the sole discretion of the pilot. Unfavorable weather conditions when coupled with the pilots duties to narrate the tour and answer tourists questions during helicopter operations, breeds disaster. Other considerations which have contributed to the increase in helicopter fatalities include inadequate or improper maintenance standards or practices, overworked pilots imposed by the tour industry demand, and overcrowded airspace.
More frequently, helicopter have become a major mode of transportation to and from the Las Vegas Race Track given its location outside the city limits, and the obvious time saver that air travel allows. Air Ambulance Services run from Valley Hospital and UMC to the Red Rock Canyon mountains where motorcycles, rock climbers and hikers often suffer accidents. These services are often very expensive, and clients deserve the best rescue travel. Air-Medics rely on experienced pilots who often make quick decisions on where to land. Often, pilot error occurs causing a miscalculation and fatal results.
Investigations into the cause of a helicopter crash are spearheaded by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). It is critical for a law firm to understand the detailed process of a crash investigation. There are many aspects to an NTSB investigation such as rotor control and function (both main and tail), maintenance records, fuel starvation, pilot error, air traffic control error, and power loss to name a few. The Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon attract vacationers with ideal scenery when operating in safe conditions. The majority of sightseeing helicopter tours operate directly out of the Las Vegas valley, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. Understanding and determining the most likely cause or causes of a helicopter crash is paramount to a successful legal claim.
At Benson & Bingham, our firm is comprised of trial lawyers dedicated to helping injured victims; the firm has settled or tried to verdict many wrongful death actions. If you or someone you care about has been injured or lost their life in a helicopter crash, we strongly urge you to contact our law firm as soon as possible. The investigation stage of a helicopter crash is of the highest importance. Benson & Bingham can help you uncover and understand what happened.