NAVIGATION CHARTS ON TRIAL: HOW SAFE IS SAFE?

Robert B. Schultz

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: For many years, Jeppesen and the U.S. Government held a virtual monopoly on the gathering and dissemination of navigation data for use in aviation. They also shared a monopoly on the unenviable right to be sued for their efforts. With the burgeoning of technology, it is certain that many more companies will be entering this field, and will also share the cost and inconvenience of having to defend product liability lawsuits. This paper reviews the facts in several airplane crash law suits where the plaintiff alleged that the accident was caused at least in part by defects in an air navigation chart. Despite the question posed in its title, this paper does not address the question of how navigation charts can be designed to ensure safety or to avoid product liability lawsuits. Indeed, these questions cannot be answered. Rather, this paper is intended to be a survey of actual lawsuits against Jeppesen and the U.S. Government, and to give the potential chartmaker an appreciation for the variety of claims that have been made recently.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 39, Number 1
Pages: 25 - 50
Cite this article: Schultz, Robert B., "NAVIGATION CHARTS ON TRIAL: HOW SAFE IS SAFE?", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 39, No. 1, Spring 1992, pp. 25-50.
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