Since their introduction in the mid-1970s, ultralight aircraft have become extremely popular in New York and around the country because they give people who cannot afford a conventional plane the opportunity to fly. However, they are susceptible to strong winds due to their lightweight construction and are often flown by inexperienced pilots. When ultralight aircraft crash, they are usually destroyed, and their pilots are often killed.
This is what happened on the afternoon of Jan. 11 in Somerset County, New Jersey. According to media reports, a 64-year-old man lost his life when he failed to maintain control of the ultralight aircraft he was piloting and crashed near an airport in Franklin County. The accident took place at approximately 12:45 p.m. Emergency workers discovered the man’s body and the wreckage of his plane in a wooded area off Tuckahoe Road. The accident is being investigated by local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Lack of regulations
Advocacy groups have long called for ultralight aircraft regulations. The FAA does not currently require ultralight planes to meet airworthiness standards or have airworthiness certificates. Ultralight aircraft do not have to be registered, and their pilots are not required to possess any aeronautical knowledge, obtain pilot’s licenses or have any flying experience.
Ultralight aircraft lawsuits
This lack of regulatory oversight may be the reason why so many ultralight aircraft crash. When pilots or their passengers are injured or killed because ultralight vehicles were made with defective parts, attorneys with experience in this area may seek to hold manufacturers responsible by filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Litigation brought in connection with plane and train accidents may seek damages to cover lost income, medical bills and pain and suffering. If the manufacturer knowingly sold unsafe or defective products, attorneys may also seek punitive damages.