The family of a decorated pilot who died in a 2011 crash at Fort Benning has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging the AH-6M "Little Bird" helicopter was unsafe.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steven B. Redd, 37, was in control of the helicopter Aug. 8, 2011, when he and Capt. John D. Hortman, 30, died during a training exercise with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Redd and Hortman were assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman of Los Angeles filed the lawsuit Monday in Connecticut for plaintiffs Adalia Lee Redd, the pilot's wife, and his three children, Jazlyn, Dezaray and Tristyn Redd. Defendants include the Goodrich Corporation; Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems Inc; Rolls-Royce North America Inc.; Allison Engine Company Inc; Boeing Company and MD Helicopters Inc.
The suit was filed in Connecticut because each of the defendants is authorized to do business in the state. Goodrich Corporation was identified in the lawsuit as the designer, manufacturer, tester, seller, supplier and systems integrator of a key part on the helicopter, the Fully Automated Digital Electronic Control. The FADEC is a digital computer that controls fuel to the turbine engine on the helicopter.
During operation, the computer senses the engine parameters and delivers fuel to the engine according to its programming. Failure of the computer results in fuel delivery failure, which directly effects the engine power, control and performance of the aircraft.