Air Law – Imputed Negligence – Liability of Airplane Owner for Negligence of Pilot

Plaintiff, passenger in an airplane owned by defendant as proprietor of the flight school and piloted by a flight trainee with defendant’s permission, suffered injuries in a crash allegedly caused by the negligence of the pilot and brought this action against defendant owner to recover damages. The trial court sustained defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint. On appeal, held, reversed and remanded for new trial. If the allegations of negligence of the pilot are found to be true, defendant would be liable for plaintiff’s injuries even though he was not in actual control of the airplane. The governing statutory provisions define “operation of aircraft” to include causing or authorizing the operation of aircraft, and make it unlawful to “operate an aircraft” in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger others. Such operation makes the owner negligent per se and liable for the resulting damage. Lamasters v. Snodgrass, 248 Iowa 1377, 85 N.W. (2d) 622 (1957).