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Widow of Kauai air-crash victim files wrongful-death suit

The widow of a southern California man killed in the crash of a powered glider off Kauai last year filed a wrongful-death lawsuit today against the Kauai flight company, the aircraft manufacturer and others.

Ray Foreman, 53, of Vista, Calif., was vacationing on Kauai with his wife Cynthia when he went on a sightseeing flight — a 25th wedding anniversary gift — with Kauai Aerosports on May 17, 2011, the lawsuit said.

The aircraft crashed in the ocean off Honopu Beach, killing Foreman and pilot Steve Sprague.

It was the third fatal crash in 14 months in Hawaii of a type of aircraft classified as “weight-shift control aircraft” but which are more commonly known as powered gliders or air trikes. Such craft look like a hang glider with a small fuselage slung underneath, with two open cockpit seats and a rear-facing propeller.

The lawsuit by Cynthia Foreman contends that Sprague did not disclose his history of air accidents and that defective equipment prevented the occupants from freeing themselves from the wreckage in the water.

The lawsuit also says powered gliders do not meet federal standards for commercial air tours, and are meant to be for fight instruction only.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Honolulu, does not specify an amount of damages sought.

Representatives of Kauai Aerosports, aircraft maker P&M Aviation of England or Atlanta Sport Aviation (P&M’s U.S. agent) could not be reached for comment.

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