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Iowa Aviation Company Accused In Minnesota Man's Death

Aug 8, 2003 | AP

The family of a Minnesota man who died in the fiery crash of an experimental aircraft has filed a lawsuit against a Des Moines aviation company, which the family claims improperly serviced the fuel-injection system of the craft.

Bennett Moyle, 55, of Edina, Minn., was killed in July 2001 when his experimental plane went down at a "fly in" near Oshkosh, Wis.

Moyle's family filed suit in Polk County District Court, seeking a jury trial and an unspecified amount of money.

Elliott Aviation of Des Moines services planes at airports in Omaha, Neb.; Moline, Ill.; and Minneapolis.

Moyle's plane was serviced in Minneapolis with parts manufactured by Ada, Okla.-based General Aviation Modifications Inc., which also is named in the lawsuit, said Steven Lawyer, a Des Moines attorney for the Moyle family.

Moyle's plane, a Glasair III, also known as a Stoddard-Hamilton SH3, is a small, engine-powered aircraft that is assembled by the owner with the help of a kit and instruction booklet. Before they are flown, all experimental aircraft are inspected by a Federal Aviation Administration official.

Moyle had been a member of the Experimental Aviation Association in Minnesota and was a licensed pilot.

Elliott Aviation provides parts and services for corporate and personal aircraft, said Lonnie Hoodjer, the company's business manager in Des Moines.

Hoodjer would not comment on the lawsuit.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation found the accident was caused by an inadvertent stall and spin by the pilot. The safety board report, issued in September 2002, failed to find problems with the airplane.

"It is not uncommon that the stall-spin is a description of the flight pattern of the aircraft at the time of the crash. It doesn't necessarily tell you what causes the crash," Lawyer said.

He added that safety board findings are not admissible as evidence in civil court cases.

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