Commercial, Regulatory

UPDATED: Italian Court Outlines Possible Charges Stemming From 2015 AW609 Crash

By Amy Kluber | May 24, 2018
Send Feedback | @amykluber

AW609. Photo courtesy of Leonardo

Italian prosecutors have filed a notice of the conclusion of criminal procedure and outlined potential charges that could be brought against several individuals for alleged criminal wrongdoing in the fatal 2015 crash of a Leonardo AW609 prototype.

Italian prosecutors have outlined potential charges against AW609 Program Manager Clive Scott, AW609 Program Director David King, and managers of the AW609 flight control systems Maurizio Parolini and Clemente Brena. They all "violated [their] general and specific duties of caution, expertise and diligence" regarding the No. 2 prototype crash that caused the deaths of the two onboard pilots, according to a formal document from the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Vercelli in Northern Italy obtained by R&WI, dated March 20, 2018.

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Under Italian law, the charges outlined in the document are the result of a preliminary investigation and do not represent indictments against the named individuals.

Both Scott and King, the document says, did not carry out adequate management check methods and engineering checks about the aircraft's behavior, and also did not "carry out an exhaustive evaluation of flight safety aspects," among other findings. These inactions, prosecutors say, led to "inadequate" or "insufficient" factors in the aircraft's flying performing and handling.

The document says Parolini and Brena "didn't coordinate the engineering and avionics techniques," accusations also listed for Scott and King. These actions led to insufficient aircraft stability at high speeds and other aircraft handling consequences.

The listed individuals are "persons under investigations charged with the crime under articles 113 and 449 because acting together and being mutually aware of their contribution in what happened, during the design, construction and test of AW609 ... under procedures to obtain the aircraft civil certification project," the document states.

Leonardo told R&WI in a statement last week that it "fully trusts the relevant authorities and is fully committed to a continued cooperation aimed at all necessary evaluations in the framework of the investigations." Leonardo said its AW609 program development and testing activities have been performed in "full compliance with national and international rules and procedures."  Furthermore, Leonardo said, it puts safety of its operations and personnel at the top priority.

Per Italian law, the individuals had 20 days to respond to the notice, during which they have the right to produce materials to counter the charges or request to be interviewed. The current status of the investigation doesn’t imply a request for indictment of personnel and no appeal was required of the named individuals. R&WI was not immediately able to determine if any appeals have been filed.

Clarification: The article originally stated that the individuals named in the court document had 30 days to appeal the charges outlined in the document obtained by R&WI. The document outlines potential charges that could be brought against the individuals and no appeal is necessary for this phase of the investigation.

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