Decline Of General Aviation

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The Decline of General Aviation Airports
The Rise of General Aviation In the early days of aviation, aviators were limited to flying during daylight hours, in near ideal weather conditions. Early pilots were not regulated as they are today, and would take off and land their aircraft in any flat open area, often a farmer’s grassy field, which allowed them to choose their direction relative to the prevailing winds. As aviation grew, pilots began to congregate in common areas, which allowed for ease of fueling, maintenance, and the telling of the occasional lies, giving birth to the airport. As airports were established, runways evolved from the high drag of the grass runway, to runways of hard dirt and even gravel. The term “General Aviation
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The premise behind liability law is that there should be a form of negligence, or failure to take reasonable care, in the area of aviation, by the manufacturer. With aviation safety rates growing, it was proof that aircraft manufactures were taking great care in the design and manufacture of their aircraft. However, in 1963, a landmark case was decided in the Supreme Court of California, which embraced strict liability, thereby holding the manufacture responsible, even if reasonable care was taken. Even though strict liability set the standards of reasonable care so high that no manufacturer could meet them, courts across the nation adopted the rule, shifting the burden to the manufacturers (Truitt & Tarry, …show more content…
With the liability lawsuits rapidly increasing, the annual liability premiums for the defense of the cases reached proportions of several million dollars for the three major General Aviation manufacturers. Although many think that the “liability crisis” began in 1979 or 1980, it is evident that they began much earlier, and had been building for many years. Liability insurance for the aircraft manufacturers rose dramatically in the 1980s, as underwriters adjusted to the increasing claims against the industry. In 1978, industry-wide liability premiums cost around 24 million dollars, in 1985; the cost was 210 million dollars. The effect this had on General Aviation was staggering; Cessna withdrew from manufacture of single engine aircraft, Beech drastically lowered production levels, and Piper filed for Chapter 11. By 1987, the average product liability ranged between $70,000 to $100,000 put units built, for the three General Aviation manufacturers (Truitt & Tarry,

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