A February decision by a federal court in Washington State found that federal regulation of aviation safety has “occupied the field” with respect to aircraft design and testing.  In McIntosh v. Cub Crafters, Inc., the court considered wrongful death claims following the crash of a light aircraft during a sales demonstration flight.

While the plaintiffs claimed that the manufacturer had negligently designed and tested the aircraft, and also had violated ASTM standards adopted by the FAA and required for airworthiness certification, the court ruled that only claims based on violations of the FAA standards could proceed to trial.

As a result, the claims of negligence were stricken from the plaintiffs’ complaint, except to the extent that the claims arose from violation of a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR).