As soon as I saw the latest headlines regarding Air Asia – “Frozen instruments – Deliberate crash” I emailed aviation litigation titan Gerald Sterns. With 45 years representing pilots and passengers, Sterns’ lock on the industry is profound. With permission, to quote him, this was his response.
“EA 990? Spent two years on it incl five trips to Cairo and two to London. Also recently did an interview for Al jazeera – a crew from New Zealand with and Egyptian adviser whom I had met during the 990 case. We all agreed the “suicide” theory concocted by the FBI and NTSB was hooey, and hindered the real investigation, which should have been into the elevator controls of the 767 aircraft which crashed. Not sure when, where the Al Jazz program will run; maybe in Arabic? The whole theme was to reinforce the argument that it was not a suicide and the Egyptian back up pilot was wrongly blamed, and his family smeared. I guess they chose me to interview because we represented the backup pilot’s family and attacked that suicide theory big time.
“Actually ended up getting them a good settlement, but public perception of that case will never change because of the FBI. They can be very dangerous at times.”
“The comments about maybe suicide in the Air Asia case caught my attention same reasons. Boeing used to use the “suicide” defense often in cases where their machines went down for a first unknown reasons.”
Sterns doesn’t tweet much. He’s too busy. But occasionally I check at @Airattorney
Next, I called a pilot friend, Brig. Lt. General, Jim Melin, (Ret.) (now CEO of AF Village West). Jim mentioned he was watching the broadcast and between the data as reported and the pilot’s request, said,
“Yes, it appears he attempted to climb, but the aircraft was going too slow and it stalled.”
We discussed always attempting flying around or above a storm, as well as the probability of recovering from a stall during a ferocious thunderstorm….which you never want to fly into at any time.
But regarding Sterns comments about the FBI in relation to EA case; and the current air of distrust of the FBI concerning their view of who really hacked Sony; it is something to think about.