The estates of two men who were killed in a helicopter crash in Troy Township are suing MD Helicopters, Inc., Rolls-Royce Corp., Honeywell International, Inc., and Accurate Accessories, LLC for negligence.
Back in 2018, a helicopter crash killed two men in Troy Township. Now, the estates of those two men, Tyson Snyder and Jeffrey Fluharty, are suing the “successor to the chopper’s manufacturer, the maker of its engines, and companies involved in aftermarket accessories.” The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo and names MD Helicopters, Inc., Rolls-Royce Corp., Honeywell International, Inc., and Accurate Accessories, LLC as defendants. Specifically, the suit accuses the defendants of negligence and carelessness “in the ways they allowed and supported the installation of anti-icing fuel filters in helicopters like the one that crashed and failed to warn aviators of limitations of an automatic engine reignition system used in those helicopters.”
The accident that took the lives of the two men occurred on January 15, 2018 when the helicopter they were piloting to “inspect a power line in Wood County crashed into a farm field.” According to an investigation report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the probable cause of the crash was “loss of engine power due to snow or ice ingestion at an altitude that was insufficient to allow for engine reignition.” The report further stated that the day of the crash, light snow was falling in the area and “flat light, if not whiteout, conditions were a contributing factor in the pilot’s inability to perform an autorotation procedure that might have resulted in a successful emergency landing.”
As a result of the report, the suit alleges that MD Helicopters, the successor to Hughes Helicopters in holding federal certification for the Model 369HM helicopter, was negligent because it allowed the “helicopter involved in the crash to be modified for, and operated during, winter weather conditions without properly and adequately testing, analyzing, or evaluating those modifications.” The suit further argues the other defendants were careless “regarding the performance of the helicopter’s engine and fuel systems, including the after-market installation of a fuel control assembly marketed by Honeywell and installed by Accurate Accessories.” On top of that, the suit accuses the defendants of “failing to provide adequate warnings to helicopter owners and crews about their systems’ limitations.” As a result, the suit is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from each defendant.
It’s important to note that the National Transportation Safety Board report did not place blame on the Snyder or Fluharty. However, statements from their family members questioned whether the flight was a wise move given the weather conditions. For example, Fluharty’s wife, Lisa, told investigators that her husband mentioned there was “strong pressure from management to complete flight missions on time regardless of weather and recalled multiple conversations between Mr. Fluharty and the owner regarding the weather before the accident flight.”
When commenting on the manner, Honeywell spokesman Scott Sayres simply said, “The company extends our sincere condolences to the Snyder and Fluharty families and their loved ones.”