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Experienced Orlando Pilot Crashes in Storm

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on September 29, 2015

Flying a single-engine plane can be dangerous even for an experienced pilot. They are often called “Doctor Killers” for a reason. People with a moderate amount of disposable income can operate a small plane, but those aircraft are more likely to experience problems.

On August 28, 59-year-old David Gibbs, a retired Navy captain, set out in his Cessna 310R from Orlando Executive Airport. He left the airport around 3:55 p.m. and immediately climbed to 3,000 feet. The Orlando resident had planned to fly to Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, where was set to renew his instrument flying license. But he experienced bad weather during the flight. The region had several major storm cells that created strong winds and heavy rain.

Gibbs attempted to land at the airport around 4:30 p.m. but aborted that effort. He circled the airport, trying to find a proper approach to the airport in the bad weather. The plane was flying at 1,000 of elevation and then suddenly dropped to a height of 300 feet. Shortly after that, the tower at the Space Coast Regional Airport lost contact with Gibbs.

Immediately a search was launched. According to tracking software, Gibbs was believed to be near the shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office put boats in the water of the lagoon and deployed a helicopter. The sheriff’s deputies were assisted by members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Aviation, Dive, and Marine units along with members from FWC and the US Coast Guard.

The plane disintegrated upon impacting the lagoon and soon pieces of wreckage were found floating in the water. But night descended on the area and the search had to be called off.

The next day searchers found the body of the aircraft and Gibbs’ remains. It took several days for the body to be identified and the next of kin notified.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, but Gibbs was an experienced pilot. He was licensed to fly in bad weather and was able navigate with visual landmarks on the ground.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an aviation accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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