April 24, 2013

Nine companies blamed in fatal Maine plane crash

A lawsuit says negligence led to an engine problem, which led to the pilot's death and the destruction of a house.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

In this 2011 file photo, firefighters extinguish a blaze on Granite Street in Biddeford after a plane crashed into a home. The children of a highly decorated, retired Air Force pilot who died when his civilian plane crashed in Biddeford two years ago, and the couple whose home was destroyed by the crash, are jointly suing the companies that maintained and inspected the plane.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

Walker said L'Hommedieu's children and the Myerses sued together because they agreed that pilot error was not an issue and that negligence in maintaining and inspecting the plane was the cause of the crash.

"The NTSB reports fairly frequently attribute at least partial responsibility to the pilot," Walker said. "In this case, we don't believe that was true. His airspeed and altitude were too low. He didn't have time to react."

On the day of the crash, L'Hommedieu flew from the Portland International Jetport to pick up a passenger on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts, flew the passenger to Westchester County Airport in New York and then flew back to Biddeford, where he hoped to have dinner with a friend who lived nearby, according to the lawsuit.

L'Hommedieu began flying as a teenager, and joined the Air Force in 1964, flying B-52s and, later, FB-111s. During his 20-year Air Force career, he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 12 Air Medals, the Cross of Gallantry and the Meritorious Service Medal.

He was a master navigator, a flight instructor and chief of operations and maintenance, according to the lawsuit.

 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

 

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