The law of Aviation

The weather chronically deteriorated as he flew towards the ground causing Jack to lose sight of where he was going and have no choice but to make a reckless manoeuvre in attempt to avoid an electric pylon and clipped the starboard wing as he passed , an action that sent him spiralling downwards 400ft out of the air. At the time of this misfortunate occurrence, Jacks visibility was down to zero therefore leaving him in a vulnerable position.

Visual Flight Rules (VFR)[13] enforce that in a controlled airspace (classes A-E) meteorological visibility in conditions below FL100 must maintain a 5KM flight visibility, 1500m horizontally from cloud and 1000FT vertically, steer clear of clouds and maintain sight of the surface. The recommended fuel for Cessna 172 is 100LL (BLUE) Avgas – very volatile and is extremely flammable petroleum based gasoline with the LL meaning ‘low lead’[14]. In clear conscience, Bob warned that the Cessna 172 needed re fuelling before flight. Despite Bob’s warning Jack proceeded to fly and as a result the aircraft descended from the air into a farmer’s field.

Rather than use the type of fuel deemed acceptable, Jack re fuelled the aircraft using unleaded fuel detrimental to the operation of this aircraft. Realistically, from this point onwards jack is liable for all damages caused to the aircraft due to fire spluttering from the engine. The (CAA) will rely on relevant areas of S(94)(3) Air navigation Order[15] which claims to bear a sole purpose to ensure flight safety and prevent air accidents furthermore, this raises an issue of whether or not jack illegally trespassed onto the farmers land.

In Tort, trespass is thought to be an intentional act whereby one enters another’s land without appropriate authorisation even though initially thought to be wrongful conduct resulting in damage or personal loss however, nowadays trespass can apply in any situation involving non consent upon entry of land and can be seen as a criminal offence. Establishing whether or not Jack committed the act of trespass solely relies on proof that he did in fact intend to trespass.

Evaluation of the scenario indicates that Jack indeed trespassed onto the farmers land however; Jack can rely on emergency landing as a defence in terms of protecting his and the life of his passengers. S76 (1) of the Civil Aviation Act (1982)[16] illustrates that “no action shall lie in nuisance or trespass by reason only of the flight of an aircraft over any property at a height above the ground which is reasonable”. However, S76 (2) confers a right to bring an action against intruder in respect of damage caused by the aircraft without the need to prove negligence.

This rule was upheld in the case of Kelsen v Imperial Tobacco[17]. Nevertheless, Jack, the responsible pilot in this situation owed a duty of care to his passengers, a duty he failed to take charge of by inadequately checking the aircraft prior to flying. “Duty of care requires you to consider the consequences of your acts and omissions and to ensure that those acts and/or omissions do not give rise to a foreseeable risk of injury to any other person”[18] jack forfeited his need to provide a duty of care by ignoring necessary flight preparations such as weather checks and fuel.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)[19] is part of the Department for Transport and is responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK and its overseas territories[20]. The purpose of the AAIB neither aims to allocate blame or liability but improve aviation safety by accurately investigating air accidents founding guidelines to prevent future reoccurrence. An inspector will be assigned by the AAIB to investigate the cause of the accident using flight records and witness statements for assistance.

Once the true cause is established the (CAA) attend to the case as they see fit. In terms of the damage caused to the aircraft during the flight, one might argue that Jack had contractual obligation to ensure the safe returning of the aircraft. Based on principles associated with contract law, both parties entered into a contract at the point of currency exchange (deposit) therefore Jack is accountable for caused to the aircraft whilst in his possession. Finally, due to the evidence presented against Jack, it is clear that he infringed the rules that embody the law of Aviation.

The law of Aviation encompasses the standard rules and regulations under which flying is considered safe. Any attempt to circumvent these rules leads to a ripple effect causing total disarray. Jack is liable under the law of Tort to provide a duty of care to his passenger, a virtue he failed to deliver therefore In any event, Mary could claim under psychological trauma due impact of aircraft descending towards the ground. The aircraft in question requires a major structural repair of the starboard wing and an engine rebuild, Jack will therefore be obligated to pay damages as a remedy.