Our firm is continuing to work on the case filed against Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation arising out of the death of Thomas Ballenger. We have learned from our investigation of the January 4th helicopter crash near Morgan City, Louisiana, involving a Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter, that there are other parties that share responsibility for the fatal crash. During the first of two examinations of the wreckage layout in Louisiana, a bird specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture examined the helicopter for evidence of a bird strike. DNA testing done by the Smithsonian Institute Feather Identification Lab revealed that remains of a hawk were found on the windscreen. Also, remnants of a bird strike were found in the windscreen seal. The ongoing investigation has pointed to a failure of the helicopter’s aftermarket windscreen and composite center post. We believe that the windscreen was not airworthy for use in this helicopter because it was not designed to withstand a foreseeable bird strike at the helicopter’s cruising speed.
The original production laminated glass windscreens from the helicopter had been removed and replaced with an aftermarket acrylic windscreen. These aftermarket windscreens were designed, manufactured, and sold by Tennessee-based Aeronautical Associates, Inc., a division of Edwards Aircraft Corporation, and a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. We have brought these additional parties into the case that was filed in the Federal District Court located in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s significant that Sikorsky has issued a warning that these aftermarket acrylic windscreens should not be used with the S-76C++. I, along with Greg Allen and Chris Glover from our firm, am handling this case. We are working closely with Jim Calton, Sr. and Jim Calton, Jr., lawyers from Eufaula, Ala., who are involved with us in this case.
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