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Aviation & Aerospace

Moving the industry upward.

Aviation and aerospace are technically complex, highly regulated, and rapidly evolving fields. Our industry team has the substantive legal knowledge and industry experience to help you navigate through any challenges you may encounter. We serve a broad range of aviation, aerospace and defense clients, including defense contractors, piloted and autonomous aircraft and component manufacturers, system integrators, passenger and cargo airlines, airports, air carrier, fixed base, and repair station operators, and their suppliers and service providers.

Our team of attorneys advise new ventures, middle-market companies, and global entities in wide ranging commercial and governmental transactions and in investigation, enforcement, and litigation matters. Several of our attorneys also bring the practical industry experience of serving as former commercial and military aviators, military contracts trial attorneys, and in-house counsel and business managers in the aerospace and defense industry, which helps us to better understand and serve our aviation and aerospace industry clients.

Aviation & Aerospace Contact

  • Barkdull_Denise_web.jpg
    Denise Y. Barkdull


    Indianapolis, IN

  • Schell_Dennis_web.jpg
    Dennis Schell


    Indianapolis, IN

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Areas of Service

  • Government contracting
  • Domestic and international commercial transactions
  • Employment disputes and labor union negotiation
  • Finance, real estate and construction
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions
  • Product liability
  • Intellectual property development, enforcement and defense
  • Regulatory compliance and enforcement defense
  • International trade compliance and taxation
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Privacy and data security advising and breach investigation
  • Legislative relations and public affairs
  • Dispute resolution

Experience Highlights

We regularly advise clients in the following areas:

OEMs, Component Manufacturers and System Integrators

  • Represented component manufacturers and system integrators related to many notable aviation accidents.
  • Won reversal on appeal of $21.7 M jury verdict against helicopter OEM in prior trial of multiple fatality products liability claim.
  • Successfully defended manufacturer of complex components against $70 M claim alleging manufacturing defect.
  • Successfully defended component manufacturer against claims of product defect; Obtained $96 M jury verdict against Plaintiff on crossclaims, also wiping out $180 M claim for indemnity.
  • Extracted from litigation without payment a manufacturer of a flight control component alleged at fault for a commercial aircraft mass disaster.
  • Successfully defended a helicopter engine manufacturer in a wrongful death case before state trial, appeal, and supreme courts.
  • Investigated and advised numerous manufacturers through product recalls, groundings, FAA airworthiness directives and service bulletins.
  • Advised aviation products manufacturer on product liability risk mitigation.


  • Advised real estate developer through creation of public private partnership and development of substantial industrial aviation complex.
  • Advised airports through creation and negotiation of financing agreements, land use agreements, operating agreements and acquisition of FAA funding.
  • Represented clients in runway and other airport construction contracting, bid protests, and claim disputes, domestically and abroad.
  • Advised developer and operator of “inside the fence” air cargo hub facility in excess of 1 M square feet in site acquisition and development, including ground lease with the airport, local zoning and state airport board approvals, and title clearance.
  • Advised real estate developers in all phases of development, construction, leasing and sale of investment-grade e-commerce distribution and manufacturing facilities in excess of 1 M square feet located on airport property.

Repair Station Operators

  • Successfully defended Part 145 propeller repair station operator against claims exceeding $1 M, obtaining summary judgment and successfully defending the judgment before the U.S. Ninth Circuit.
  • Successfully defended Part 145 wing and control-surface repair station operator against claims of $1.2 M, obtaining a take-nothing jury verdict.
  • Defended numerous other repair stations to successful defense judgment on matters ranging from contract disputes to product liability to wrongful death.

Commercial Airlines

  • Defended passenger airlines in numerous domestic and international air disasters.
  • Represented multiple international passenger airlines in numerous claims under Montreal Convention for passenger injury and cargo losses.
  • Represented a cargo airline in numerous employment claims and labor disputes.
  • Represented airlines in regulatory proceedings before the FAA, including defending an airline in a series of investigations, notices of civil penalties and FAA / DOT complaints.

Defense Contractors

  • Advised prime and sub-contractors on a wide range of defense procurement and construction issues, including terms and conditions, defending claims, and numerous bid protests.
  • Represented OEM regarding SBIR contract for design of a new airframe for attritable UAS.
  • Advised an airframe component replacement supplier regarding intellectual property rights in government contracting.
  • Represented a contractor in a bid protest for a Performance Based Remediation contract for military base environmental cleanup.
  • Advised a firearms manufacturer regarding government contracting issues and international trade regulations and tariffs.
  • Advised a UAS systems integrator in protecting proprietary information in government contracting.

Remotely Piloted & Autonomous Systems

  • Represented a UAS remote ID architecture developer in establishing and maturing a strategic intellectual property portfolio.
  • Advised a UAS OEM on intellectual property freedom-to-operate matters.
  • Advised a UAS startup on FAA regulatory compliance.
  • Advised facility and real estate owners on rights and claims against remote pilots operating UAS flights over private facilities and their employees.

Air Carriers, Fixed Base Operators & Aircraft Owners

  • Defense of air charter operator in 15 wrongful death claims involving the crash of a business jet.
  • Represented air carriers in numerous domestic and international air disasters.
  • Represented aircraft owner in multiple-fatality accident of a single engine turboprop.
  • Represented airmen in FAA certificate actions and NTSB appeals
  • Advised aircraft owner on structuring and compliance for dry leasing
  • Represented aircraft owner in recovery of losses from accident due to negligent repair and operation of aircraft.

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