U.S. Government Awards Family Confidential Settlement for Mid-Air Collision Caused by F-16
Estate of Olivier v. US Air Force: Jacques Olivier was returning home to Tampa from Sarasota in his Cessna. He was in communication with air traffic controllers and was flying the course and altitude they had assigned him. At the same time, two Moody Air Force Base F-16 fighters were traveling below 10,000 feet at 450 knots — 200 knots above FAA speed regulations for that altitude level. FAA regulations also required them to be in communications with Tampa approach controllers while at that position. Instead, the Air Force pilots “chopped” and discontinued radio contact. They were illegally flying in controlled air space without being in communications with anyone.
Jacques Olivier had just a few moments to try to avoid the collision before the impact cut his Cessna in half, killing him instantly. Pieces of the plane rained down on the golf course below. The Air Force pilot thought he had “hit a bird,” ejected and landed safely. Our attorneys, retained by co-counsel for our aviation expertise, investigated this accident and determined exactly what had occurred to cause this tragedy. While never officially reporting fault, the Air Force acknowledged liability and we negotiated a confidential settlement for the surviving members of Jacques Olivier’s family.