Dissertation Writers: Is the pilot legally liable for the passenger’s injuries and to the FBO for destroying its airplane? Explain.
Renting an aircraft from an FBO, a college student who is a private pilot heads out on a cross-country trip to spend Thanksgiving at home, bringing along a non-pilot friend. Due to a later than planned start, the two arrive later than anticipated at the last planned fuel stop at a rural airport, only to find the FBO closed and the fuel pumps locked.
A cell phone call to the FBO’s number yields a recorded message that the business is closed for the holiday weekend.
Estimating that at least an hour’s fuel remains in the aircraft’s tanks, the pilot takes off again, planning to refuel at the next airport along the route. Unfortunately, the pilot’s estimate proves wrong and the aircraft runs out of fuel on approach to the next airport. In the dark, the pilot lands short of the runway and the airplane is destroyed, and the passenger is seriously injured, though the pilot escapes with minor scrapes and bruises.
Is the pilot legally liable for the passenger’s injuries and to the FBO for destroying its airplane? Explain.