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Shortly after a small plane crashed just yards from a house in Louisa County, Virginia (VA), on the night of April 11, 2014, officials reported that mechanical failure likely brought down the Cessna U206G Stationair.

The pilot and passenger aboard the aircraft suffered injuries requiring hospital treatment, but their wounds were not life-threatening. Fortunately, the occupants of the home escaped injury.

“Mechanical problem” can mean almost anything. Local authorities and experts from the Federal Aviation Administration opened an investigation immediately, but findings may not come for a year or longer.

The plane involved in the accident was built in 1980. Properly maintained, with parts being replaced as they wear out, most planes can fly safely for far more than 34 years. It remains unclear whether this particular aircraft got the needed repairs, upgrades and pre- and post-flight inspections needed to ensure its safe use.

Overall, according to an online database of air accidents sponsored by the Flight Safety Foundation, Cessna UCGs have proven reliable and durable. If investigators determine that this latest crash resulted from defective equipment or shoddy maintenance, parts manufacturers or the companies the plane’s owner paid to keep the aircraft flightworthy could potentially be held liable in civil court. Such a lawsuit could secure the accident victims reimbursement for medical expenses and income lost while being unable to work.

EJL

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