Aircraft damaged while returning to factory

Just a quick disclaimer : my purpose here is not to put blame on anyone, just to get advice from more experienced members for an event I'm - fortunately - note really used to.

Also, I am a european AOPA member, and this is something that happened in Europe, just in case...

I've owned an CS-LSA-certified aircraft for a year now. There were some minor technical issues I brought up to the local dealer who sold me the plane. After consulting with the manufacturer, they advised to have the aircraft flown back to the factory where all these issues would be dealt with, under warranty. None of these issues were safety-related, there were some minor glitches with soem aircraft systems and a left-yawing tendency that probably was related to the calibration of the rudder springs, along with the suspicious behavior of an engine sensor.

So we arranged for a pickup date, and a pilot working for the dealer came to ferry my plane to the factory. Upon landing at the factory... the nose landing gear failed, for a reason unkown yet, the prop struck the ground and the aircraft came to a rest on the lower engine cowling.

I have no reason to suspect the pilot. Pictures taken after the accident along with eyewitness reports tend to corroborate his version of a non-eventful landing, with the nose slightly off the ground as per POH. Then when the nose wheel settled, the wheel separated from the landing gear shock absorber, which dragged for some 30+ feet in the grass before failing too, and folding backwards.

The aircraft was 15 hours after its annual/100hrs check, with no problem found other than the system/sensor glitches mentioned previously.

I don't have any report yet, knowing that the fact that the aircraft is at the factory is both a blessing (they're probably the most competent team in the world to deal with it), and a risk (one could think they would not be as straightforward as a third party). But I have no reason to suspect they won't be fair and transparent.

I am just trying to figure out if there are things i must think of, apart from the initial notifications to the counterparts of the FAA and NTSB here. Every help is welcome.

Thanks in advance!
1 Replies
1632 Posts
Only thing I can think of is to obtain legal advice about your rights from an aviation attorney In your jurisdiction.  The fact that the aircraft now has a damage history impacts its value, and since the damage occurred while the dealer's pilot was flying it suggests that you should be appropriately compensated by either the dealer or, if it was a defect in the gear, the factory.  Although you didn't mention it, you should also have notified your insurer of this event.