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


The Aviation Practice Group team helps clients in the aviation industry by:

  • Investigating accidents and incidents involving aircraft and aviation products-related issues pre-suit for assessment of liability exposure and strategic defense planning;
  • Representing companies in insurance and workers’ compensation claims involving commercial, charter, and general aviation aircraft accidents and incidents, hull damage claims, premises liability claims, as well as aviation insurance coverage litigation;
  • Representing clients in all phases of litigation, including resolution of matters in settlement negotiations or mediated settlement conferences;
  • Protecting aviation companies’ interests in aviation lawsuits at trial in the State and Federal courts, including appeals to the highest courts;
  • Handling business aviation disputes in aviation arbitrations through hearing 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, aircraft owners and mechanics, and other airport vendors;
  • Advising on and handling cases involving aviation products liability for manufacturing, technology and service companies that support the aviation industry;
  • Handling aviation matters involving breach of contract, breach of warranties and related contractual claims;
  • Forming companies for aircraft owners, including assisting and consulting with aviation clients on compliance with corporate structures, company policies, employment of pilots, drafting of and compliance with operating agreements, negotiating contracts, and other transactional matters;
  • Advising clients in Aircraft Purchase Agreements and closings on aircraft and jet deals;
  • Protecting aviation and drone companies’ trademarks and intellectual property rights;
  • Analyzing global trade issues for aircraft and aircraft 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 contracts for companies with global business partners, including international 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 industry;
  • Representing pilots, mechanics, and schools in FAA enforcement and civil penalty actions.


Members of our Aviation Practice Group team belong to numerous aviation organizations including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Legal Service Plan 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 Helicopter Association International (HAI), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

The Aviation Practice Group team has experience in litigation in several states involving aviation 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 industry specific issues including litigation specific issues, Drone law, international commercial disputes in aviation, IP and liability issues facing aviation and drone businesses, and many other topics.

Additionally, Aviation Practice Group leader, partner Mica Nguyen Worthy, is also a Certified Global Business Professional (NASBITE®) who regularly advises on international business issues for the aviation 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 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 aviation aircraft accidents and incidents.

Partner Russell Racine is licensed in South Carolina and regularly assists with state and federal issues in aviation claims. He is also the practice group leader for the firm’s IP Practice Group and assists the aviation 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 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 Practice Group’s offerings in Drone Law capabilities and FAA enforcement action representations through the firm’s Administrative, Regulatory & Government Law Group.

For more information on our Aviation Practice Group, please contact Mica Nguyen Worthy.

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