Original Source: Here

A pilot’s seat will become the main focus for aviation lawyers representing passengers on board a LATAM flight that plunged into a mid-air emergency between Sydney and Auckland last month.

At least 50 people were injured and 12 hospitalised when the 787 Dreamliner dropped abruptly mid-flight on March 11 sending passengers slamming into the ceiling.

A preliminary report into the incident by the Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics of Chile determined that “the seat on the left side of the cockpit, with the captain in position, began an involuntary movement forward”.

Aviation lawyer and director of Carter Capner Law, Peter Carter, is leading an investigation into the history of the cockpit’s seat switch controls.

Carter will also probe warnings about the seat switch issued by Boeing in 2017 and shortly before the March accident.

He said photos provided in the report depict “a significant difference” in the resting position of the seat switch covers on the seats of both the pilot and first officer.

“While the cover on the back of the first-officer’s seat sits flush with the seat back, the cover to the pilot’s seat switch does not,” Carter said.

The report did not directly comment on the seating positions and said investigations are ongoing.

However, Carter said the incomplete closure of the pilot’s seat switch cover at resting position left open the possibility that the switch may have been activated when the cover was inadvertently depressed, thus explaining the involuntary movement.

He said further questions still need to be answered including what part maintenance and crew conduct played and how the seat movement so violently affected the aircraft’s cruise.

“What measures were in place to prevent that happening?” Carter added.

“These are all questions that are important to discovering the cause of the accident and we must wait and see.”

The report ascertained neither weather nor turbulence contributed to the uncontrolled dive.