NEW ORLEANS – The mother of a child killed during a gyrocopter flight in St. John Parish is suing the manufacturer of the plane and claiming that a malfunction of the aircraft's rotor blades caused it to crash to the ground, killing both the pilot and her child.

Lindsey King, individually and on behalf of her deceased minor child, Peyton Wilt filed suit against Old Republic Insurance Company, Christopher P. Brupbacher, Dofin Fritts, Have Gyro Will Travel, and the Succession of Darren Joseph Mahler in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on March 16.

The plaintiff asserts that on Sept. 21, 2014, the pilot Mahler–without her permission–brought her son along on a leisurely flight in his gyrocopter. After taking off, she claims that the aircraft climbed to approximately 300 feet and began to turn west when suddenly, the two rotor blades on the aircraft both folded upward and the gyrocopter plummeted and crashed to the ground in a canal.

Brupbacher allegedly was the manufacturer of the gyrocopter and is claimed to have controlled the design, construction and quality of the craft sold to Mahler. The defendant is accused of having gained knowledge of potential problems in the craft's design and failing to adequately warn the craft's purchasers of the danger. The defendant is also accused of failing to properly inspect and maintain the aircraft, failing to perform proper maintenance, selling a defective gyrocopter and general neglect of care.

The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount in damages for the wrongful death of her child, funeral expenses for him, loss of earnings, loss of consortium and loss of future support.

The plaintiff is represented by Joseph S. Piacun, Thomas A. Gennusa II and Reid S. Uzee of Metairie-based Gennusa, Piacun & Ruli.

This case has been assigned to Division G Judge Robin M. Giarusso.

Case no. 2015-02377.

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