Jury: airplane manufacturer not responsible in Cory Lidle’s death

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It was just less than a month ago that the Cory Lidle wrongful death trial began. The claim, brought by Lidle’s family: that the manufacturer of the airplane Lidle was flying malfunctioned and was responsible for his death.  Today the jury came back with a verdict. They did not agree.  The FAA’s determination of the matter — pilot error — remains the only explanation adopted by anyone who has dispassionately considered the matter.

HBT Commenter Emeritus Old Gator is a licensed pilot with thousands of hours under his belt and has experience with the sort of plane Lidle was flying that fateful day in October 2006.  His assessment, in comments last month, was as follows:

The scenario of an aircraft as relatively simple as a Cirrus going out of control due to a berserk Hall-9000 control system strikes me as too preposterous to take very seriously. This one has all the classic hallmarks of overreaching student pilot stupidity and an instructor who was asleep at the switch … I can tell you that any pilot who was trying to perform a 180-degree turn inside the Hudson corridor, below the level of the surrounding buildings, was doing something very foolish unless there was some kind of genuine emergency at hand – like, collision avoidance – and any instructor who would permit him to do so should have had his license yanked.

Cory Lidle’s death was a sad thing. But it would seem that his death was also the doing of his own errors and/or those of the flight instructor who died with him.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.