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Duties In Aircraft Operation

An individual who is injured as a result of the operation of an aircraft usually has a legally enforceable right to damages for any injuries or losses sustained.

Manufacturers A manufacturer is under a duty to exercise reasonable care and proficiency in the design, production, and assembly of an aircraft vehicle. Liability for a departure from this duty may be extended to the manufacturer regardless of whether that company was directly involved in the manufacture of the parts. The law will imply a WARRANTY of proper design and manufacture of an aircraft. A manufacturer of parts will also be held responsible for damage caused by the product and must use a high degree of care in their production, although they need not be made accident-proof. A manufacturer is not relieved of a continuing obligation to improve the component parts of an air vehicle when there is continuing risk to safe travel.

Pilots The pilot of a private aircraft is subject to ordinary NEGLIGENCE standards in the absence of a special law. The pilot is required to exercise ordinary, but not extreme, care and caution regarding its operation. Negligence rules, however, impose a greater standard of care when applied to aviation, because of the severity and magnitude of potential harm posed by improper operation of an aircraft.

Owners Generally ownership of an aircraft vehicle is insufficient to render an owner liable for damage resulting from its unreasonable operation by another. In certain jurisdictions, however, an owner who lends a plane to an individual he or she knows to be reckless or incompetent will be held responsible. Similarly, the federal or state government cannot evade liability for damage arising out of the improper operation of its aircraft by government employees.

Passengers Passengers in a private aircraft have the obligation to exercise reasonable care for their own well-being. They must subscribe to the reasonable person standard and refrain from going on a particular flight that would be an obvious danger, such as a flight during a hurricane.

Passengers on airlines and other air common carriers must observe safety precautions by obeying instructions of flight attendants, such as by fastening their seatbelts.

Operators of Airplanes An airport operator has the duty to exercise ordinary care in protecting aircraft on its premises and the people who use airport facilities. Neglecting to maintain the airport premises in a reasonably safe condition results in TORT liability for resulting injuries to persons present.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Additional voluntary contribution (AVC) to AirspaceAeronautics - Airspace Rights, Air Transportation Regulation, Certificate Requirements, Airport Operation, Use And Ownership Of Aircraft Vehicles - Regulation on the State and Local Level, Aerospace