Widow of guardsman killed in helicopter crash sues aircraft maker

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - The widow of a National Guardsman killed in a helicopter in Afghanistan filed a 5 (M) million dollar lawsuit against companies responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the aircraft.

Chief Warrant Officer William Timothy Flanigan, of Milan, was killed a year ago when the AH-64 Apache helicopter he was in crashed shortly after takeoff from Kandahar Airfield.

Flanigan was a member of Company R, 4-278th Armored Calvary Regiment out of Jackson. His widow, Cassandra Flanigan, filed suit in U-S District Court in Jackson on Friday against Westwind Technologies, the company responsible for maintenance of the helicopter, and Honeywell International, which manufactured the helmet Flanigan used to communicate with his co-pilot and to get visual images.

Defendants also include McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company, which designed and manufactured the helicopter, and The Boeing Company, which has since acquired McDonnell Douglas.

The lawsuit says a U-S Army and Department of Defense investigation found an equipment malfunction caused the crash.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)