Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, T & G Flying Club, Inc., N4207P: Accident occurred August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, Ohio

Friends of Abraham Pishevar said the 18-year-old sent this Snapchat with the caption "rush" minutes before he and three others died in a plane crash near Willoughby Hills Aug. 25.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The family of one of four Case Western Reserve University students killed in a 2014 plane crash is suing the estate of the student pilot, the flight club that owned the plane and a fraternity.

The parents of Abraham Pishevar, 18, claim the nighttime flight he and three other students took Aug. 25 was part of fraternity recruitment, and that the flight club did not properly inspect the plane before letting 19-year-old William Felten fly it.  

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Oct. 22 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, seeks at least $75,000 damages.

Pishevar, Felten, Lucas Marcelli, 20, and John Hill, 18, died when their rented Cesna airplane crashed minutes after taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport in Willoughby Hills.

It was the first day of classes at Case Western Reserve. Marcelli and Pishevar were on the wrestling team.

Felten and Marcelli, both sophomores, were members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity's Lambda chapter at the campus. Pishevar and Hill were both freshmen.

The lawsuit claims Felten was acting as an agent of the fraternity's national headquarters in Indianapolis when he reserved the plane through T&G Flying Club two hours in advance as part of "rush," the period when fraternities and sororities recruit new members.

Images and text messages that Pishevar sent to his friends from the airport reference "rushing." 

The fraternity has denied that the flight was connected to rush.  

The suit also accuses T&G Flight Club and its owner, Laurence Rohl, of not properly inspecting the plane before clearing it for takeoff, failing to properly maintain its planes and entrusting Felten with the plane. 

A representative from the flight school could not immediately be reached for comment.

The flight club trained Felten to get his pilot license a year earlier, and should have known he was "unskilled and incapable" of flying the plane safely, the suit alleges.

Pishevar's family is asking for damages that cover pain and suffering, burial and funeral costs and Pishevar's lost earning potential.

A hearing has not been set.

The family filed a petition for discovery in September 2014, seeking a litany of documentation from the fraternity, the flight club and the university. They withdrew the petition in December.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA453 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, OH
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N4207P
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 25, 2014, at 2158 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N4207P, collided with the terrain in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Airport (CGF). The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact and a post impact fire. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by T & G Flying Club, Inc. The pilot rented the airplane and was flying it on a personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reserved the airplane from T&G Flying Club, at 2022 using an online reservation system. He reserved the airplane for 4 hours, beginning at 2030. The employees of the flying club had left for the evening by time the pilot and passengers arrived.

Two witnesses, stated that shortly after 2100, they saw 4 males walk across the ramp toward the tie-down area near hangar 7. One of the males had a carry-on type suitcase. The pilot and passengers then boarded a Cessna 172. One of the witnesses stated the airplane stayed on the ramp for about 30 minutes with the engine running. They did not see the airplane after this time.

At 2146, the pilot called ground control for a takeoff taxi clearance stating he was on the ramp south of the T&G Flight Club. The controller issued the pilot a clearance to taxi to runway 6 via the Alpha 7 taxiway to the Alpha taxiway. The controller also issued the wind condition as 140 degrees at 8 knots along with the altimeter setting. The pilot stated his radio was a little "fuzzy" and he asked the controller to repeat the clearance. The controller repeated the taxi clearance, which the pilot subsequently repeated. About 4 minutes later, the controller informed the pilot that he is taxiing to the wrong runway. After asking the controller to repeat what he said, the pilot stated "Thank you I'm sorry." The controller then issued taxi instructions back to the approach end of runway 6.

At 2156, the pilot radioed that he was ready to takeoff on runway 6. The controller asked the pilot what his direction of flight was going to be. The pilot responded that they were going to fly east to sightsee and that they would be back in a little while. The controller issued the takeoff clearance with a right turn after takeoff. At 2158, the pilot radioed that they were not climbing fast and they wanted to immediately make a left turn to turn around. The controller approved the left turn. The controller stated it appeared the airplane began a left turn when it descended to the ground. The controller reported that during the takeoff, the airplane became airborne about 100 feet past taxiway Alpha 6, which was approximately 2,000 feet down the runway.

The airplane impacted the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole prior to coming to rest about 1,000 feet on a bearing of 20 degrees from the departure end of runway 6. This location is just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway.

The wreckage path was along a 210 degree heading. The left wing tip, including the position light, was embedded in the ground at the first impact mark. This mark was east of the chain link fence. The airplane then traveled through the fence, with the left wing contacting one of the fence posts. The main impact crater was in the west side of the fence. Adjacent to the crater were two slash marks in the soft ground. Both marks were about 12 inches long. One of the slash marks was about 7 inches deep and the other was about 4 inches deep. The airplane came to rest on a heading of about 160 degrees with the left wing against the telephone pole. A postimpact fire ensued.

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Cleveland FSDO-25


Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A series of text messages and photographs captured the last few moments before four Case Western Reserve University students died in the August plane crash near Willoughby Hills. 

The images provided to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, and confirmed by Karman Parpovi, a student who described himself as a friend of one of the passengers, show the men on the runway and the interior the Cessna that crashed shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Airport.

A text message also makes reference to "rushing."

Parpovi, one of several people who received the images and texts Aug. 25, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that he suspects the flight was related to fraternity rush. It's a claim that the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity denies.

"I'm very certain, without a doubt the reason for the flight had something to do with rushing this fraternity," Parpovi said.

Parpovi was friends with 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar. Pishevar, of Rockville, Maryland, was killed Aug. 25 along with William Felten, 19, Lucas Marcelli, 20, and John Hill, 18, when their rented plane crashed minutes after taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport.

In the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report, investigators said the men boarded the plane with a suitcase and described the 10 p.m. flight to air traffic controllers as a short sightseeing trip.

But Parpovi said Pishevar sent several text messages and Snapchats in the minutes leading up to the flight. One image shows a picture of one of the men standing outside the plane, and was captioned only "rush."

Felten and Marcelli were members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Marcelli, Pishevar and Hill were also members of the university's varsity wrestling team.

The day after the crash, the fraternity released a statement confirming the crash came on the first day of recruitment. But it insisted that the flight itself was not tied to rushing activities.

"We sympathize with the friends and family of the men killed in that plane crash and understand the need of some to create a reason for this senseless tragedy," the fraternity said. "This tragedy may have occurred during the University's recruitment week. 

However, outside of the fact that two of the men killed were our brothers, the plane crash appears to have had nothing to do with recruitment or the fraternity."

Laurence Bolotin, ZBT International executive director, did not immediately respond to a list of questions.

In one of his final text messages, Pishevar was asked how his first day of classes went.

"It was alright, not bad," he wrote. "I'm rushing right now.

"See the Snap I sent you. I'm excited and terrified," he wrote.

Felten, a licensed pilot, reported to air traffic controllers that the plane was having trouble ascending after takeoff, and asked to pull a 180-degree left turn to return to the landing strip, according to the NTSB report.

The plane struck the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole before it came to rest about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway.

Story, Photos and Comments:  http://www.cleveland.com

One of Pishevar's friends, Karman Parpovi, said he is certain the flight had something to do with fraternity recruitment, or rushing, for Zeta Beta Tau. 
  Northeast Ohio Media Group

This text message, provided by a close family friend, shows Pishevar saying he was rushing the night he and three other Case Western Reserve University students died in the crash. 
  Northeast Ohio Media Group

Pishevar, of Rockville, Maryland, died along with pilot William Felten, 19, of Saginaw, Michigan, Lucas Marcelli, 20, of Massillon, and John Hill, 18, St. Simons, Georgia. Felten and Marcelli were ZBT brothers. 

Officials watch over the wreckage from the fatal Willoughby Hills plane crash as a private jet approaches the runway at Cuyahoga County Airport.

1 comment:

  1. Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching

    I suspect lawsuits are already in the works.

    Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching