Birthday Gift Kills Husband's Buddy
LAS VEGAS (CN) - Seeking to give her husband the birthday present of a lifetime, a woman bought him and his friends a $29,000 "Top Gun dog-fighting experience" in a Soviet-era military jet, which crashed on takeoff, killing a friend and the pilot, the widow claims in court.
Sherri Winslow blames Aviation Classics, which maintained the L-39 jet, for the death of her husband Richard, in the Boulder City, Nev., crash two years ago. The pilot, David Gillis, also died.
Aviation Classics and anonymous corporations are the only defendants.
Winslow claims in the lawsuit that her friend Sandy Young paid $29,000 to Incredible Adventures for the present for her husband, Richard and seven of his friends.
"The 8 participants were to be briefed and instructed on Top Gun fighter jet dog fighting and then taken up on mock aerial missions in Soviet-era jet fighters," according to the lawsuit in Clark County Court.
The weather was good, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Two pilots in separate aircraft were each to carry one passenger at a time, taking off in tandem, then flying aerial maneuvers and landing. "The first two flights were unremarkable," Winslow says in the complaint.
On the third flight, with her husband aboard, "The two jets took off in tandem down the runway. Shortly after takeoff, the jet piloted by Gillis veered to the right. Pilot Gillis was heard making a 'may day' call over the radio. The jet then crashed into the desert. Both occupants were killed," the widow says in the lawsuit.
The Aero L-39 Albatros, is training and ground-attack het developed in Czechoslovakia and used by the Soviet Union from the late 1960s through the 1980s.
Winslow seeks damages for negligence, pain and suffering, lost earnings and loss of consortium.
She is represented by Bill Bradley, with Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney, of Reno.