First Ever Report Of Texting While Flying Fatality :: Personal Injury Attorneys and Lawyers in Charlotte, NC

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In a horrifying bit of news, a pilot in Missouri was found to be the first to have been involved in a texting while flying related crash. An investigation recently conducted by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that texting by a pilot before and during a medical helicopter flight led to the ensuing accident.

Investigators with the NTSB said the pilot’s texting started the flight off on the wrong foot when his distraction led him to take off without sufficient fuel. Later in the flight, the helicopter’s engine died as he announced that there was no more fuel in the aircraft. The crash, which occurred on August 26, 2011, killed a patient being transported from one hospital to another.

The accident and its results are being taken seriously enough that the NTSB has issued a formal warning to all pilots about the dangers that distraction from technology can pose to flight safety. The NTSB Chairman said that the issue of distraction is a serious one regardless of the mode of transportation involved. Helicopter Charlotte North Carolina Personal Injury Wrongful Death Law Firm Lawyer Attorney.jpg

The investigation surrounding this flight found that the pilot of the helicopter had sent and received at least 240 texts during his shift the day of the accident. Twenty of these text messages were sent and received immediately prior to and during the crash, all to a coworker he was planning to have dinner with.

The NTSB investigators found that this marked the first time texting during a flight contributed to a fatal accident. The NTSB said that this represented a classic example of someone dividing his or her attention in too many directions, which leads to an overall decline in safety. Experts say the crash is not the same as distracted driving accidents where a motorist takes his or her eyes off the road for a second, which then leads to an accident. Instead, this is much more similar to the problems caused by multitasking which can lead to danger. Another similar situation is when doctors are presented with too many distractions, which has been found to lead to an increase in medical errors.

Though company rules specifically prohibit pilots from using electronic devices while flying, those regulations appear to have done little to impact the pilot’s behavior. Since the accident, the company says it has put in place a stricter zero tolerance policy for the use of personal electronic devices during a flight.

If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.


“Texting While Flying Linked to Commercial Crash in First,” by Alan Levin, published at

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