General Membership Meeting

11 April 2013

The Daedalian General Membership Meeting was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Austin on Thursday, 11 April 2013. It was a dinner meeting with members gathering as early as 1800 hours.
Following a social period, the Flight Captain, Ron Butler, called the meeting to order at 1855 Hours. After the invocation, the Flight Captain led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Provost Marshall toasted our departed brothers, sisters, and the Commander-in-Chief. The Flight Captain introduced our honored guests.
A list of guests follows:
Mary Boyce Ward Boyce
Martha Davis Ron Butler
Mike Slack Ron Butler
Marge Meyer Andy Meyer
Joy Stanford Nolan Stanford
Charlene Tapman Tom Tapman

There were 25 members and 6 guests in attendance. $ 116 was collected for the raffle. Following dinner, the meeting was reconvened at 1957. The minutes from the last meeting were approved. The next meeting will be June 13th.
Ron introduced our speaker, Mike Slack, who received a masters in Aeronautical Engineering from Texas A&M and a law degree from UT. At NASA, he was involved in the Apollo program and worked on the flight loads during the ascent through the jet stream. Based on the earlier Atlas program, his program allowed the Apollo rocket to snake through the jet steam at Mach 2, and avoid some high side loads. After seven years at NASA, he earned his pilot's license and went into aviation law. His focus was to get companies and manufacture's to prevent future accidents.

He had a client on the 1996 Value Jet crash in the Everglades. His client was an unknown Texas singer, but with the help of Lyle Lovett, he became an A-list musician and the case easily settled.

In 1990, a helicopter flew into the ground during reduced visibility. His team met in a Dallas restaurant with the other lawyers. Neither side wanted to go to court, and after a bottle of wine, the opposition slid a number across the table, a response was made, and then they split the difference.

In 2001, an inexperienced helicopter pilot said "Let me show you what it will do." The resulting stall killed the passenger. The CEO of the hiring company was confronted unexpectedly after a long night with "If you hadn't hired this contractor, it would never had happened?" and he said "Yes." That was all that was needed.

A new twin encountered ice, and before he could climb out of it, the aircraft stalled and crashed. The manufacturer's documents referred to the airplane as a pig in ice. As a result of the settlement, an alcohol deicing system was installed.

Another twin was lost when the company was doing engine overhauls based on the overhaul of one of the engines. Part of the settlement was 3 technical changes to include much longer times for the overhaul.

The Airbus A300-600 had a procedure to exercise the rudders. Under certain conditions, this snapped the tail off. As part of the settlement, software was written so that the pilot could not generate the control inputs to do this.

A helicopter hooked a skid on takeoff and burned in the resultant crash. As part of the settlement, the manufacturer agreed to retrofit their aircraft with a fire proof bladder.

The Flight Captain thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 2107.