Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury Awards $350 Million to Kin of Pilot Killed in Helicopter Crash

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury Awards $350 Million to Kin of Pilot Killed in Helicopter Crash

Article excerpt

The survivors of a Life Flight helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash caused by a defective engine part have been awarded $350 million in damages.

A Jackson County Circuit Court jury Thursday ordered the French aircraft parts maker Turbomeca S.A. and its U.S. subsidiary to pay James Barnett Jr.'s family $175 million in actual damages and $175 million in punitive damages.

Barnett, of Atchison, Kan., was one of two people killed May 27, 1993, when the helicopter he was flying crashed in a northwest Missouri cornfield while flying an accident victim to a Kansas City hospital.

About 1,500 helicopters are still flying with the defective part that caused the engine to fail during Barnett's fatal flight. From 200 to 400 are in the United States, said the Barnett family's attorney, Gary C. Robb of Kansas City.

The part in question, called a nozzle guide vane, directs hot gases to drive the turbine in the helicopter's engine. It is used in the French-made Aerospeciale AS 350B, a small, single-engine helicopter used by hospitals as an air ambulance and by police and TV and radio stations for surveillance and traffic observation. …

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