Summer time is vacation time and if your vacation potentially involves an aerial tour, make sure you do your homework ahead of time.  Sightseeing tour flights generally involve helicopters being chartered by vacationing families seeking excitement and close up views of extraordinary sites such as the Grand Canyon, the mountains and coast line of the Hawaiian Islands, and Catalina Island in California, to name a few.  Such flights can be thrilling and memorable when conducted safely, but far too many tour flights end in tragedy.  As with any aircraft crash, negligent maintenance and other system issues are often the cause, but tour flight crashes can also be the result of pilots pushing the envelope in an effort to impress passengers.

Aircraft maintenance and pilot training are often done in-house by the companies offering the tours, so before chartering any sightseeing flight, make sure you thoroughly check out the safety record of the company and the credentials and experience of the pilot who will be flying your aircraft.  If the company will not provide you with this information, find another company.  You can obtain limited information on most tour operators on the FAA’s website at .  You should also contact the operator well in advance and have them send you information on their pilots, training, maintenance and insurance.  The Better Business Bureau in the local charter area should also have a file on the company.  Finally, a simple internet search of the company’s name will likely yield some good information like reviews from other customers and news articles.  Sightseeing tours can be fun, but before you go, you should do everything you can to make sure you are putting your family in safe hands.


Texas lawmakers are set to vote again Friday on a controversial law that would criminalize invasive body pat-downs at airports.  William Angelley comments.  See the full story by NBC’s Scott Gordon.


FAA Issues Emergency Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737 Aircraft

April 12, 2011

The FAA has called for the immediate inspection of certain areas of the external skin of all 737 – 300, -400 and -500 series aircraft.  This inspection was prompted by the hole that opened up in the skin of a Southwest Airlines aircraft earlier this month causing a rapid decompression in the aircraft’s cabin.  Many [...]

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Senator asks FAA not to water down new pilot safety regulations

February 14, 2011

Senator Charles Schumer of New York sent a letter to FAA Administrator  Randy Babbitt yesterday asking the administrator not to dilute recently proposed pilot safety regulations.  The new regulations were drafted on the heels of the Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York that happened two years ago this week.  Schumer’s letter was a rebuttal [...]

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Court Signs $285,000 Judgment for Hightower Angelley Client

December 10, 2010

After the defendants refused to pay a real estate commission in March 2008, the broker hired the attorneys at Hightower Angelley.  We filed suit, accomplished service overseas, and successfully tried the case after battling in discovery for more than two years.  On December 10, 2010, the Court signed a “Final Judgment” tracking the favorable result we [...]

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CNBC Program on Remington Model 700 Trigger Defect Stirs Gun Control Debate

October 26, 2010

With allegations of a product defect in Remington’s bolt action rifle receiving attention in the media, some of you may wonder what position Hightower Angelley takes regarding gun control.  Hightower Angelley does not, and has not ever, advocated for gun control.  We do, however, strongly believe that firearms should work properly.  When they don’t, the manufacturer has a [...]

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FAA Proposes Comprehensive New Helicopter Safety Rules

October 12, 2010

Press Release from For Immediate Release October 7, 2010 Contact: Alison Duquette 
Phone: 202-267-3883 WASHINGTON–The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today proposed broad new rules for helicopter operators, including air ambulances, which, if finalized, would require stricter flight rules and procedures, improved communications and training, and additional on-board safety equipment. “This [...]

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Deaths prompt CPSC, FDA warning on infant sleep positioners

September 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 29, 2010 CPSC Release # 10-358 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today warned consumers to stop using infant sleep positioners. Over the past 13 years, CPSC and the FDA have received 12 reports of infants between the ages [...]

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Friendly Fire Shoot Down of U.S. Navy F/A-18 Aircraft Reveals Injustice in U.S. Legal System

September 14, 2010

A couple of years ago I represented the family of a Navy pilot who was killed when his F/A-18 aircraft was shot down by a U.S. Patriot Missile system that mistakenly identified the plane as an incoming Iraqi Scud missile.  Based on our interpretation of the Army’s investigation report, we concluded that the Patriot system had some [...]

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FAA Proposes Civil Penalty Against American Airlines

August 30, 2010

August 26, 2010 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $24.2 million civil penalty against American Airlines Inc. for failing to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the maintenance of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. This civil penalty is the largest ever proposed by the FAA. “We put rules and regulations [...]

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