North Carolina Airshows Present Risk of Injury for Specators, Perfomers

In 2010, the airshow industry celebrated its 100th year anniversary. But several tragedies this year have our Statesville injury lawyers concerned about the safety of performers and spectators alike. Airshow events can be breathtaking, but they have been proven to be fatal in recent months. Airshow organizers need to take every precaution during the planning, set-up and performance phases to ensure public and performer safety.
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The Charlotte Observer reports that organizers of the upcoming Monroe airshow intend to do just that. With more than 100,000 spectators expected, organizers want to reduce the risk of injury at the North Carolina airshow event by being prepared, unlike other shows that have resulted in tragic events. Two people who performed in last year’s Monroe airshow were killed at separate events in May and September. We are also reminded of the recent Reno event that killed a pilot and 10 spectators.

A 2010 airshow accident report indicates that last year was the worst safety year throughout the history of airshow events. The annual average of airshow accidents since 2001 has been 24, with the most accidents happening in 2010 with 31 reported incidents. In 2010, 84 people were injured or killed at airshows throughout the world. The United States reported the most number of accidents of any country at six. Loss of control was the most common factor leading to an airshow accident.

Spectator safety is becoming a growing concern in recent years. In 2010, there were a total of 48 spectators injured and one death at airshows worldwide. In addition, there were seven public injuries sustained by people not even in attendance at the show.

There are certain regulations that need to be followed in order to protect anyone viewing the show from getting hurt. One is clearly identifying a safe distance line in which spectators are not permitted to cross and should be policed if any attempt is made. A safety line doesn’t help prevent injury when a pilot loses control of the plane but it can help in keeping injuries to a minimum if spectators stay in a designated area away from take-off and landing areas. Federal aviation officials must inspect the course and also the spectator viewing area before every airshow takes place. All pilots must also demonstrate their competence before they are allowed to participate in the show.

Naval Air Station Lemoore offers these tips for spectator safety:

-Stay alert. There is a lot of action taking place at airshows with large machinery and other dangerous objects that can cause severe injury.

-Avoid walking in the field area where planes are taking off, landing or performing stunts.

-Be careful where you walk. Trip hazards like aircraft tie-downs or tent ropes are a danger to spectators who don’t see them.

-Airshows are loud, so be prepared by bringing earplugs.

-When you arrive at the show, search for the nearest emergency tent or medical treatment center so you know where it is, just in case.

-Look for posted signs that pertain to safety and follow the advice.

-Supervise small children at all times by keeping them close and not allowing them to touch displays.

If you have been injured at a North Carolina airshow or at a fair or festival in South Carolina, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. Call for a free no-obligation appointment to discuss the details of your case at 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Safety, thrills mark Monroe air show, by Adam Bell, Charlotte Observer.

More Blog Entries:
Fairs, Festivals Put People at Risk for Injury at North Carolina Fall Events, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, October 19, 2011.

Ride Injuries Common at North Carolina Fairs and Carnivals, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, October 7, 2011.

One Person Killed, Another Injured, After Fall From Greensboro Carnival Ride, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 28, 2011.

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