Cirrus not to blame for fatal Lidle accident, jury says

May 24, 2011

The jury in a lawsuit Cory Lidle’s family filed against Cirrus Design issued a verdict May 24 that the aircraft did not cause the baseball player’s fatal Oct. 11, 2006, accident in New York City.

The New York Yankees pitcher and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger were flying in the East River corridor and tried a tight 180-degree turn back over the river. The aircraft crashed into an apartment building, killing Lidle and Stanger. One person on the ground was seriously injured; two others received minor injuries, according to the NTSB factual report. The lawsuit claimed that a defect in the aircraft caused the crash.

"Our hearts are with the Lidle and Stanger families who are still grieving," Cirrus Vice President of Business Administration Bill King said in a press release. "We're gratified that the jury reached a decision that confirmed what the National Transportation Safety Board found and what we have always believed: the SR20 did not cause this accident. We very much appreciate the hard work of the jury and the court in this matter."

In a safety review of the accident, the Air Safety Institute reported, “Data indicate most of the turn was actually accomplished at a bank angle of only 40 to 45 degrees. With the maneuver incomplete and New York’s skyscrapers looming large, the pilot likely increased the bank beyond the 61-degree threshold, placing the Cirrus into aerodynamic stall while pulling through the turn.

“The NTSB determined that the accident’s probable cause was the pilots’ inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in the performance of a 180-degree turn maneuver inside of a limited turning space.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller | AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.