Aeronautical and Aviation

Robert C. Winn, Ph.D., P.E.
Chairman of the Board, Principal & Director of Aviation
Phone: (719) 535-0400
rcwinn@engsys.com

Aircraft & Accident Reconstruction
View Capability Sheet
Aviation Expertise
View Capability Sheet

 

Engineering Systems Inc. (ESI) has been a leader in aviation litigation support since our inception in 1987. Our Aviation Practice Group provides world-class aviation expertise with experienced staff located throughout the country. Over 70 technical personnel were involved in various aspects of aviation incidents last year, enabling the core group of over 30 to thoroughly analyze and report on all aspects of aircraft accident reconstruction, from ultralights to airliners, including:

  • Mid-air collisions
  • Airplane and helicopter performance analysis
  • Flight path reconstruction from radar data and on-board data recording
  • Airplane stability and control analyses
  • Analysis of piloting actions and expectations
  • Determination of ice build-up and its effect on aircraft performance characteristics
  • Safety and maintenance procedure evaluations
  • Analysis of control configuration, impact orientation, impact speed, impact direction, etc. using a thorough wreckage and site inspection
  • Flight testing with on-board data and video recording
  • Analysis of failed metal and composite materials
  • Theoretical and computational fluid dynamic analysis
  • Biomechanical and occupant kinematic evaluations
  • Component and instrumentation inspections and testing
  • Engine and accessory component inspection, testing, disassembly and analysis
  • Gas turbine, aircraft and rotorcraft accident investigation training

Our aviation engineering staff is well trained and experienced, from the scholastic perspective, as well as the practical one. Our backgrounds encompass several areas such as maintenance, engine certification, design, testing, piloting, physics of flight, and the critical understanding of what can and can’t happen if the laws of physics are followed. Our staff is well published, even quoted by others in their cases, and we are often presenters, instructors, and teachers to the many universities, industry organizations and groups, and technical committees and subcommittees involved with the development and review of proper procedures for the aviation industry.

In addition to analyzing hundreds of general aviation accidents, we have played a major role in the most high-profile aircraft accidents in the past 25 plus years, including:

  • Comair 3272, the crash of an Embraer 120 near Detroit in icing conditions. ESI performed detailed ice accretion analyses and combined it with airplane performance, cockpit voice recorder, and flight data recorder analyses to show that the crash was caused by the failure of the crew to use their ice protection system and maintain sufficient airspeed.
  • ESI performed an accident reconstruction involving an in-flight breakup of a Piper Saratoga as it was maneuvering to land. ESI determined that the breakup resulted from an encounter with wing-tip vortices from a Boeing 737 that passed through the same area.
  • USAir 1016, the DC-9 windshear accident in Charlotte, NC. ESI analyzed the radar and flight data recording to determine the winds actually experienced during the airplane’s windshear encounter. The result was an understanding of the impossible task facing the crew during the encounter.
  • USAir 427, the Boeing 737 crash near Pittsburgh. ESI metallurgists used a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to determine possible causes of a jamming of the servo that directs hydraulic fluid to the rudder actuator. ESI aviation experts then modified and tested an actual 737 to show the effect of a jam on rudder operation. Finally, ESI analyzed the data recovered from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder to show that the airplane performance during the upset was consis­tent with a servo jam.
  • American Airlines 1420, the MD-80 crash at Little Rock. ESI modeled the landing performance of the airplane and proved that the runway overrun was caused by the failure to deploy the spoilers when the airplane touched down.
  • Numerous other high-profile accidents that are still in litigation including: Egypt Air 990 (Boeing 767) off the coast of New York, Continental Express 3407 (Bombardier DHC-8) near Buffalo, Continental 1404 (Boeing 737) on takeoff in Denver, the acci­dent in Manhattan (Cirrus SR-20) that killed Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle, and the business jet crash into Lake Michigan (Cessna Citation) that killed an organ transplant team.

Professionals in This Area

Name

 

Title

 

Email

 

Location(s)

Edwards, Jeffrey W.   Senior Consultant   jwedwards@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Afshan, Shireen, Ph.D.   Staff Consultant   safshan@engsys.com  

Texas (Houston)

Alexander, Dale E., Ph.D., P.E.   Principal & Director of Materials   dealexander@engsys.com  

Illinois

Arruda, Joseph F.   Senior Consultant   jfarruda@engsys.com  

California

Baron, Richard P., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant & Manager of Dallas Operations   rpbaron@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Barovsky, Douglas J., P.E., CFEI   Senior Consultant   djbarovsky@engsys.com  

Washington

Barrentine, Harold R.   Senior Consultant   hrbarrentine@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Baughn, James W., Ph.D., P.E., ATP   Consultant   rcwinn@engsys.com  

Colorado

Bigelow, Clifford C., P.E., CFEI   Senior Consultant & Manager of Missouri Operations   cbigelow@engsys.com  

Missouri

Bonanti, Christopher J., M.Eng   Senior Managing Consultant   cjbonanti@engsys.com  

District of Columbia

Bouldin, Peter C.   Senior Staff Consultant   pcbouldin@engsys.com  

Illinois

Butler, Robert, Ph.D., P.E.   Principal & Director of Commercial Vehicles   rjbutler@engsys.com  

Colorado

Garber, Mitchell A., M.D., M.P.H., M.S.M.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   magarber@engsys.com  

Georgia

Gibson, Robert L.   Consultant   rcwinn@engsys.com  

Colorado

Hayes, Michael D., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   mdhayes@engsys.com  

Georgia

Heathco, Craig E., P.E.   Senior Consultant   rcwinn@engsys.com  

Colorado

Holmes, Edward W., P.E.   Principal Emeritus, Co-Founder   ewholmes@engsys.com  

Illinois

Johnson, Tim R., P.E.   Senior Consultant   trjohnson@engsys.com  

Illinois

Kenner, Matthew T., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   mtkenner@engsys.com  

Georgia

Klepacki, David G.   Senior Consultant   dgklepacki@engsys.com  

Colorado

Klosinski, Krista B., MSME, MScFS, CFEI   Staff Consultant   kbklosinski@engsys.com  

Colorado

Knuteson, Randall   Senior Consultant   rrknuteson@engsys.com  

Georgia

Kohlman, David, Ph.D., P.E.   Principal Emeritus   dlkohlman@engsys.com  

Colorado

Lewis, Mark A., M.E., P.E.   Senior Consultant   malewis@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Morris, Steven L., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant & Manager of Colorado Operations   slmorris@engsys.com  

Colorado

Novak, Gary J., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   gjnovak@engsys.com  

Illinois

Osteroos, Ryan K., ME/CPL, P.E.   Senior Consultant   rkosteroos@engsys.com  

Colorado

Padeway, Monica C.   Staff Consultant   mcpadeway@engsys.com  

Colorado

Pettinger, Alfred M., Ph.D., P.E.   Principal & Director of Mechanics   ampettinger@engsys.com  

California

Gray, Amy E., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   aegray@engsys.com  

North Carolina

Shah, Anand R., M.S., M.B.A., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   arshah@engsys.com  

Illinois

Slane, Jean H., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   jhslane@engsys.com  

Colorado

Smith, Steven J.   Senior Technologist   sjsmith@engsys.com  

Illinois

Stevenson, Michael E., Ph.D., P.E.   President, Principal & Chief Executive Officer   mestevenson@engsys.com  

Georgia

Wilkinson, John A., P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Illinois Operations   jawilkinson@engsys.com  

Illinois

Winn, Robert C., Ph.D., P.E., FAIAA, FRAeS   Chairman of the Board, Principal & Director of Aviation   rcwinn@engsys.com  

Colorado