Engine Makers Blamed|for Fatal Plane Crash

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A couple perished in a plane crash because a parts manufacturer designed an engine with defective gaskets that were prone to coming loose, their children claim in court.
     The son and three daughters of Diana and John Lallo Sr. sued Lycoming Engines and several of its subsidiaries in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday, claiming that the manufacturer’s “unusual and unorthodox” engine design caused their parents’ deaths.
     The engine allegedly featured a single-drive ignition system rather than the double-drive model used in most Lycoming engines, according to the complaint, and its “unwieldy” design caused the engine to lose timing just moments after the Lallos took off in their plane from a Kansas City, Mo. airport.
     The lawsuit alleges that the plane was only a few hundred feet in the air when the engine failed, but Lallo was unable to return to the airport in the face of the “overwhelming emergency.” The plane crashed and caught fire, killing both passengers, the complaint states.
     The Lallo family claim Lycoming and Continental Motors, which designed the engine’s ignition system, were aware of no less than 19 past plane crashes between the years of 1983 and 2013 that resulted from problems with the design of the single-drive engine. Rather than admit the design was flawed, though, they allegedly “embarked on a campaign of shifting blame to other causes” in an attempt to conceal the dangers from regulatory agencies and members of the public.
     Lycoming and its subsidiaries were even aware that the looseness of the engine gaskets didn’t conform to Federal Aviation Association regulations, the lawsuit claims, but did not disclose that during the mandatory engine certification process.
     The surviving family members say the engine manufacturers intentionally committed fraud “for the purpose of selling more aircraft engines…even though they knew people would be injured or killed as a result,” according to the complaint.
     In addition to fraud and conspiracy, Lycoming and Continental are accused of negligence, strict product liability and of breaching the contract and warranty for the aircraft engine by not delivering on their “express and implied” promise that the product they designed was safe.
     The suit also names several other defendants responsible for the design or manufacture of the defective engine or its component parts. The accused include Avco Corporation, the parent company of Lycoming, and Honeywell International, which merged with one of Continental Motors’ subsidiary companies.
     The Lallos’ four children – John Lallo Jr., Melissa Lallo-Johnson, Erica Hoar and Samantha Lallo – are also suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Estate of John and Diana Lallo is represented in the lawsuit by its administrator, Ohio attorney James Dietz.
     Dietz and the Lallos are represented by Cynthia Devers of the Wolk Law Firm in Philadelphia. They seek at least $50,000 in damages.
     Representatives from Lycoming Engines did not return a call seeking comment on the matter.

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