The Aviation & Aerospace Group at Cranfill Sumner LLP is comprised of attorneys with extensive experience and knowledge of the issues facing the aviation and aerospace industry.


The Aviation & Aerospace Group serves our clients by:

  • Investigating accidents and incidents involving aircraft and aviation or issues pre-suit for assessment of liability exposure and strategic planning;
  • Representing companies in insurance and workers’ compensation claims involving flight schools, commercial operators, charter companies, and general aviation aircraft accidents and incidents, hull damage claims, product liability claims, drone claims, premises liability claims, as well as aviation insurance coverage litigation;
  • Representing clients in all phases of litigation, including claims processes, pre-suit resolution of matters in settlement negotiations or post-litigation/court-mandated mediated settlement conferences;
  • Protecting aviation and aerospace companies’ interests in lawsuits at trial in the State and Federal courts, including appeals to the highest courts;
  • Handling business disputes in aviation and aerospace arbitrations through hearings and/or ADR mechanisms;
  • Providing legal advice as part of our representation of major air carriers, manufacturers, Part 135 operators, general aviation pilots, Part 61 and Part 141 flight schools, Fixed Base Operators, airports and other airport vendors, aircraft mechanics, and owners of aircraft, helicopters, and drones;
  • Advising on and handling cases involving aviation and aerospace products liability for manufacturing, technology and service companies that support the aviation and aerospace industry;
  • Handling legal matters involving breach of contract, breach of aircraft leases, aircraft repossession, breach of warranties and related contractual claims;
  • Analyzing and advising on Federal Tort Claims Act issues, claim process and litigation in aviation and aerospace-related matters.
  • Organizing or incorporating companies and corporations for aircraft owners, including assisting and consulting with clients on compliance with corporate structures, company policies, employment of pilots, drafting of and compliance with LLC operating agreements, negotiating contracts, and other transactional matters;
  • Advising clients and aircraft brokers in Aircraft Purchase Agreements and closings on aircraft and jet transactions;
  • Protecting aviation, aerospace, and drone operators’ trademarks and intellectual property rights;
  • Analyzing global trade issues for aircraft and aerospace parts manufacturers and distributors, including review and assistance with development of company policies on U.S. customs and export regulations such as ITAR, EAR, and OFAC compliance;
  • Preparing and reviewing aviation and aerospace contracts for companies with global business partners, including international manufacturer, supplier and/or distributor agreements, commercial contracts, commercial invoices, and non-disclosure agreements;
  • Counseling on Montreal Convention claims and issues, as well as international dispute resolution mechanisms, such as international arbitration clauses, choice of law provisions, and venue selection for companies in the aviation and aerospace industry;
  • Representing pilots, mechanics, and schools in FAA enforcement and civil penalty actions.


Members of our Aviation & Aerospace Group belong to and/or participate in numerous aviation and aerospace organizations including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Legal Service Plan panel attorneys, the Aviation Insurance Association (AIA), the International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA), the International Air & Transportation Safety Bar Association (IATSBA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Organization of Flying Adjusters (OFA), the Vertical Aviation International (VAI), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

The Aviation & Aerospace Group has experience in litigation in several states involving accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage, as well as providing analysis of issues involving aviation expert witness challenges, aircraft valuation and damages, aircraft repossession, and business contract and tort claims.

Our attorneys regularly speak on aviation and aerospace industry-specific issues including litigation-specific issues, Drone law, international commercial disputes in aviation and aerospace, IP, transactional, and liability issues facing aviation, aerospace, and drone businesses, and many other topics.

Additionally, the Aviation & Aerospace Group leader, partner Mica Nguyen Worthy, is also a Certified Global Business Professional (NASBITE®) who regularly advises on international business issues for the aviation and aerospace industry. As the firm’s practice group leader for International Business Law, she also provides in-depth experience and knowledge on certain international transactions and the issues facing clients with global operations in the aviation and aerospace industry. She has also handled products liability and breach of contract issues involving international sales law, in addition to her state and federal law practice involving aircraft accidents and incidents.

Partner Russell Racine is licensed in South Carolina and regularly assists with state and federal issues in aviation, drone, and aerospace claims. He is also the practice group leader for the firm’s IP Practice Group and assists the aviation, drone, and aerospace industry clients with obtaining, protecting, and enforcing intellectual property rights including patents and trademark registrations at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and internationally through the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Of-Counsel attorney Charlie Raphun is a commercial and technology law attorney who handles many of the aviation and aerospace clients’ transactional and contract matters. He has helped grow the Aviation Practice Group’s offerings to include the drafting of Aircraft Purchase Agreements for complex aircraft deals, negotiating and revising management agreements for Part 135 carriers and other aviation vendors, forming companies for aviation clients for proper aircraft ownership, and advising on corporate compliance and drafting operating agreements for the operation of the aviation companies. Charlie is also working to further develop the Aviation & Aerospace Group’s offerings in Drone Law capabilities and FAA enforcement action representations through the firm’s Administrative, Regulatory & Government Law Group.

For more information about our Aviation & Aerospace Group, please contact Mica Nguyen Worthy.



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