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LeClairRyan’s aviation industry team is an international practice composed of veteran attorneys who represent leading domestic and international commercial airlines, aviation product manufacturers, aviation service providers, airport developers, owners and operators of private aircraft entities, lessors, financiers, insurers and regulatory bodies. We are singularly focused on delivering business solutions—not just legal strategies—for our aviation clients.

The team includes attorneys with a depth of experience representing aviation clients in transactional and litigation matters in state and federal courts across the country, before administrative and regulatory authorities, and in their business dealings worldwide. Our team is truly interdisciplinary, offering clients the talents of attorneys in related practice areas such as labor and employment, finance, insurance, intellectual property, products liability, commercial transactions, government contracts and government relations.

Indeed, our attorneys have spent years representing and building close relationships with a host of clients in the aviation industry. As a result, we are thoroughly familiar with the litigation trends, state and federal regulatory requirements and market realities our clients confront on a daily basis.

Our distinctive strengths include:

  • Asset-based financing
  • Joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions
  • Manufacturing, selling, purchasing and leasing aircraft and equipment
  • Local, national and international regulatory regimes and treaties
  • Navigation issues
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
  • Commercial and government contracts
  • Intellectual property
  • Aviation claims
  • Disaster preparation and response (crisis management)

Regulatory Compliance

Members of our team have significant experience providing counsel to aviation clients on regulatory issues involving aircraft inspections and maintenance, voluntary disclosure reporting programs, pilot training, duty time limitations, airline mergers, and compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act. They also provide counsel on compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and advice on conducting internal investigations.


LeClairRyan’s attorneys possess a depth of experience representing aviation clients in litigation related to an array of business and liability issues. Our litigation experience includes: 

  • Defending domestic and international commercial airlines as well as aircraft manufacturers and insurers in tort defense litigation arising from disasters involving property damage, wrongful death and personal injury claims 
  • Representing owners and insurers of private aircraft in litigation involving property damage, wrongful death and personal injury claims 
  • Representing aircraft manufacturers in product liability and property damage claims 
  • Representing aviation insurance carriers in insurance coverage and subrogation litigation 
  • Defending pilots, their estates, FBOs and flight school owners and operators in wrongful death and personal injury claims 
  • Representing aircraft manufacturers in commercial contract and unfair trade practices disputes 
  • Representing commercial airlines in professional liability, discrimination, lost baggage and denied boarding litigation 
  • Representing airlines in Federal Aviation Administration investigations
  • Representing unmanned aircraft systems manufacturers and operators in aircraft certification, regulatory guidance, operation guidelines, transactional matters, risk management, intellectual property and technology, insurance and litigation matters
  • Patent prosecution and interference claims pertaining to various aviation-related technologies

Regardless of the scope of the case, our attorneys consistently achieve favorable and quantifiable results for our clients, even when confronted with the most difficult circumstances and severe time constraints. Whether they are managing discovery, coordinating trials, negotiating settlements or litigating individual cases, our attorneys are focused on protecting our aviation clients’ business interests.

Select litigation engagements: 

  • 9-11 civil litigation
  • U.S. Airways Flight 1549: The Miracle on the Hudson River
  • Representation of the FAA administrator in 9-11 commission hearings
  • Arrow Air disaster at Gander, Newfoundland
  • Air Florida disaster at Washington, D.C.
  • Alaska Airlines Flight 261, Los Angeles, California
  • Operation “Babylift” – Crash of Lockheed C-5A at Saigon, Vietnam
  • Korean Airlines 007 shoot down by Soviet Union
  • Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 – Midway Airport Overrun, Chicago, Illinois
  • U.S. Airways Flight 405 at La Guardia Airport, New York, New York
  • U.S. Airways Flight 427 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Airways Flight 1016 at Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Crash of Presidential Airways, CASA 212 aircraft in Afghanistan
  • Colgan Air Crashes near Hyannis, Massachusetts and Buffalo, New York
  • National Airlines crash at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
  • Air Century Flight CEY521
  • Air India Express Flight 812 at Mangalore
  • Continental Airlines Flight 128 Severe Turbulence
  • Tropic Air Flight 9N2300 (Belize)
  • Swissair Flight 111 Crash
  • TAM Airlines Flight 402 at Sao Paulo
  • Liability counsel for Cessna Aircraft, Piper Aircraft and Commander Aircraft in Numerous Cases throughout the United States
  • Liability counsel for over 400 airports, including Meigs Field, Palwaukee, Charlotte, Dulles, Livermore
  • National counsel for 3SI Security Systems, Inc. handling all products liability, commercial and employment matters
  • National liability counsel for Piper Aircraft Irrevocable Product Trust

Aviation Brochures


  • Team Co-Leader
  • Team Co-Leader