14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 25, 2014 in Willoughby Hills, OH
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N4207P
Injuries: 4 Fatal.
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.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On August 25, 2014, at 2158 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N4207P, collided with 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 destroyed 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.
At 2022, the pilot reserved the airplane from T&G Flying Club 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 at their facility.
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. It was later determined that the "suitcase" was most likely the roller-type flight bag that the pilot used. The pilot and passengers then boarded the accident airplane. 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. A security camera mounted on one of the buildings near the ramp captured four individuals walking on the ramp at 2107.
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 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 correctly. About four 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 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 down the runway.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating which was issued on August 8, 2013. The pilot also held a third-class medical certificate issued on November 10, 2011. The medical certificate did not contain any limitations.
The pilot's logbook records were not located during this investigation. The pilot completed a membership application for the T&G Flying Club on October 1, 2013. On that form, the pilot reported having 104.3 hours of flight time in Cessna fixed gear airplane models 150-177. A reconstruction of flight times that the pilot flew at both T&G Flying Club and at the Jack Barstow Airport, Midland, Michigan, indicate the pilot had flown 12 hours since his private pilot flight test, resulting in a total flight time of about 116.3 hours. Most if not all of the pilot's flight time was in Cessna 172 airplanes.
The accident airplane was a Cessna 172R, serial number 17280798. It was a four-place, high-wing, single-engine airplane with fixed landing gear. The owner of T&G Flying Club purchased the airplane on November 29, 2005.
Maintenance records indicate the last annual inspection on the airframe was completed on August 1, 2014, at a total aircraft time of 5,957.6 hours. The last logbook entry was dated August 19, 2014, which noted the vacuum pump was replaced at a total aircraft time of 5,969 hours. According to the operator's rental records, the airplane had been flown 18.8 hours since the annual inspection which would have resulted in an aircraft total time of 5,976.4 hours at the beginning of the accident flight.
The airplane was equipped with a 180-horsepower, Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, serial number L-25996-51A. The last annual inspection of the engine was completed on August 1, 2014. The engine total time at the last annual inspection was listed as 3,679.4 hours and the time since the factory overhaul was listed as 2,061.7 hours.
The airplane was equipped with a McCauley propeller model 1C235/LFA7570, serial number TG025. The last propeller annual inspection was completed on August 1, 2014.
The airplane's total useable fuel capacity was 53 gallons. The airplane was last fueled on August 21, 2015, with 25.1 gallons of 100LL which filled the tanks. The airplane was flown 1.9 hours between the last fueling and the accident flight. An average fuel burn for the airplane was approximately 9 gallons per hour which would have resulted in approximately 36 gallons of fuel on board at the accident takeoff. First responders reported that fuel was leaking from the airplane at the accident site and they were able to capture approximately 18 gallons of fuel from the fuel tanks.
The weather conditions reported at CGF at 2200 were wind from 140 at 10 knots; visibility 10 miles; clouds 3,500 ft. scattered; ceiling 20,000 ft. broken; temperature 24 degrees Celsius; dew point 20 degree Celsius, and altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.
Records indicate that there were three computerized weather briefing requests from N4207P on the day of the accident. All three were for flights from CGF to 89D (Kelleys Island Land Field Airport, Kelleys Island, Ohio). The first two briefings were logged at 1609:04 and 1609:19. Those briefings had a proposed departure time of 2030. The third briefing was at 2024:06 with a proposed departure time of 2100.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted the ground, a chain link fence, a guy wire, and a telephone pole before coming to rest about 1,000 feet from the departure end of runway 6 on a bearing of 20 degrees. 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 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 ground scar was on the west side of the fence. Adjacent to the main impact mark 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.
The left wing tip was the first part of the airplane to impact the terrain. The wing tip light assembly was embedded in the ground. A concave impact mark along with paint and rust transfers on the left wing aileron indicate that it contacted a metal fence post. The inboard six feet of the aileron was accordioned and crushed toward the outboard section of the aileron which remained attached to the wing. A three foot section long outboard section of the flap remained attached to the wing. The inboard section of the wing and flap were burned. The wing was separated from the fuselage. The wing strut remained attached to the wing. The leading edge of the wing was crushed aft.
The outboard section of the right wing was bent upward about 30 degrees starting near the strut attach point. The right wing was separated from the fuselage. The strut remained attached to the wing. The flap and aileron remained attached to the wing. The inboard section of the wing sustained fire damage. The outboard section of the wing was crushed aft.
The flap actuator showed the flaps were in the retracted position.
The empennage remained intact with the rudder and elevator attached to their respective stabilizers. The outboard section of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were crushed. The elevator trim was measured and the measurement equated to a 9 to 10 degree nose-up trim setting.
The cabin area and instrument panel were destroyed by the post impact fire. The fuel selector was on the "Both" position and the fuel shutoff valve was in the open position.
Flight control continuity was established from all of the flight controls to their respective cockpit controls.
The engine was located with the main wreckage. The engine mounts were separated from the firewall due to thermal damage. The propeller remained attached to the engine. The exhaust system sustained impact damage. The rear accessory case and the accessories sustained thermal damage.
The accessories and cylinder valve covers were removed. Thumb compression and engine continuity from the propeller to the accessory section was established when the propeller was rotated by hand. The cylinders and pistons were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted.
The left magneto could not be turned by hand. The magneto cap was removed and the internal components of the magneto were melted. The right magneto turned by hand, but no spark was visible on the ignition leads. The ignition cap was removed and the inside of the magneto was found melted.
The engine was equipped with two vacuum pumps. The pump with the longer shaft was mounted lower on the accessory case. The pump frangible shaft couplings were melted on both pumps and therefore they could not be turned by hand. Both pumps were opened. The vanes and rotor inside both pumps were intact.
All fuel lines from the flow divider to fuel nozzles were intact. The fuel nozzles were removed. Nozzle No. 1 was not obstructed, nozzle No 2. was inadvertently dropped in oil during removal, nozzle No 3. was separated in two pieces neither of which were obstructed, and nozzle No. 4 was 80% obstructed with the insert not obstructed. The fuel flow divider was opened and examined. The rubber diaphragm was intact.
The engine driven diaphragm fuel pump housing was burned; however, the pump plunger was intact.
The throttle arm on the fuel servo was connected and moved the throttle plate. The mixture control arm was separated from impact. The finger screen was clean.
The ignition leads sustained thermal damage, but they remained attached to all of the spark plugs. The spark plugs were slightly worn and showed normal operating signatures. The No. 1 bottom plug was wet with oil.
The propeller spinner was fractured and separated from the propeller. Both propeller blades were straight. One propeller blade contained a ¾ to 1-inch deep gouge near the tip of the blade. Chordwise scratches and leading edge polishing were visible on this blade. The other blade contained light chordwise scratches.
There were no anomalies identified with the airframe, engine, or propeller which would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office on August 28, 2014. The death of the pilot was attributed to blunt trauma and thermal injuries sustained in the accident.
The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot with negative results for drugs and alcohol.
Weight and Balance
Two sets of weight and balance calculations, using different variables, were performed for the airplane. The airplane's weight and balance paperwork showed the maximum gross weight for the airplane was 2,457 pounds, the maximum useful load was 787.4 pounds, and the maximum aft center of gravity (CG) was 116 inches aft of datum.
The occupant weights provided by the medical examiner were: pilot - 130 pounds; right front passenger - 200 pounds; left rear passenger - 172 pounds; and right rear passenger - 166 pounds.
The first calculation used the occupant weights that were provided by the medical examiner's office, 10 pound of baggage, and 35 gallons of fuel. These calculations showed the airplane had a takeoff weight of 2,550.6 pounds with a CG of 112.957 inches.
The second calculation increased the occupant's body weights by 10% to account for the weight lost by the thermal injuries and increased the baggage to 15 pounds. These calculations resulted in the airplane at a gross weight of 2,622.6 pounds, which is 165.6 pounds over gross weight and with a CG of 117.127 inches.
Witnesses who were with the pilot and passengers before the flight stated the pilot asked two of the passengers how much they weighed. One witness recalled that the passenger who would become the right front seat passenger stated he weighed 200 pounds. The witness stated the pilot performed some calculations in his head and indicated that he believed they would be below the weight limit for the airplane.
Personal Electronic Device
Three iPhones were located in the wreckage. One of the iPhones was able to be accessed and it was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for examination. The iPhone was owned by one of the passengers. At 20:33:01, a text message first referenced the flight. Text messages continued with the same recipient until 21:37. The messages discussed a destination of Kelley's Island; a half hour flight each way for a total flight time of one hour; and the possibility of further communication about the flight using Snapchat.
At 21:49, a 10-second video was taken from the back right passenger seat while the aircraft was taxiing. The video panned from the right exterior of the airplane to the forward interior. Persons were in both the left and right front seats. The person in the right front seat was not touching the flight controls. The person in the left front seat had both hands on the yoke. The flap handle was visible in the full up position.
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
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The family members of one of the four Case Western Reserve University students killed in an August plane crash are considering suing the fraternity two of the men belonged to and the flight club that rented the plane, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Family representing the estate of Abraham Pishevar said they believe the Aug. 25 flight was part of recruitment for Zeta Beta Tau, according to a petition for discovery filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The fraternity has denied that notion.
The petition names the local and national chapters of Zeta Beta Tau, as well as T&G Flight Club and the club's owner, Laurence Rohl. It seeks a litany of documentation, including communication about and receipts of financial transactions for rush activities from the chapters of the fraternity, and records of the pilot, flight instructors and safety inspectors from the flight club.
The family seeks to gather as much evidence as possible before deciding whether to file a civil lawsuit, Jordan Nebovitz, attorney with Nurenberg Paris, said.
"We're not in the business of suing everybody under the sun," Lebovitz said. "We want to discover what actually happened that night."
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.
The National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into the cause of the crash. Investigators would not necessarily look into the reason for the flight, unless they determined it had something to do with the crash, said spokesman Keith Holloway.
Text messages and images captured the night of the flight and sent from Pishevar to a group of friends make reference to rushing, the period in which fraternities recruit new members.
Felten and Marcelli were active members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
The day after the crash, the fraternity released a statement saying there appeared to be no connection between the flight and rush activities.
- Story, Document, Photos and Comments: http://www.cleveland.com
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
John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Georgia
The three wrestlers have been identified as 20-year-old Lucas Marcelli of Massillon, Ohio, 18-year-old Abraham Pishevar of Rockville, Maryland, and 18-year-old John Brewster Hill of St. Simons. The 20-year-old pilot, William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan, also was killed.
University officials said Felten and Marcelli were second-year students, while Hill and Pishevar were freshmen.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.
Case Western Reserve University is making grief counselors available to students, and university president Barbara Snyder said in a statement that the school would be working closely with the four men’s roommates and friends.
“We are truly heartbroken about these promising lives cut short,” Snyder said, “and feel profound sympathy for their loved ones and friends.”
The grief is just as profound at The Hill School, a boarding school in Pottstown, Pa., where Hill spent three years on the wrestling team and participating as a leader in other campus activities, officials said.
“He was a guy who came in here with a little experience’’ having spent a year on the wrestling team at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, said Mark Pearson, his coach and faculty advisor at The Hill School.
In his sophomore year, Hill may have won six matches all year and lost as many as 15, but he put in a lot of work and in his junior year reversed his record, Pearson said.
In his senior year, he won at least 35 matches, placed sixth in the Pennsylvania prep school rankings for independent schools and qualified for the national tournament where he finished eighth, Pearson said.
“He was a kid who kept getting better and growing in all aspects of his life,’’ Pearson said.
He was a resident dorm advisor as a senior, Pearson said.
“He was a great counselor for the younger kids and his pears. I was impressed at the way he became a young man here. People respected what he did here. Everyone here is so sad,’’ Pearson said.
Pearson said his parents, Charlie Hill of St. Simons and Tracy Brown of Savannah, were very supportive of their son and always involved in his life at The Hill School.
Hill grew up on St. Simons Island where he attended St. Simons and Oglethorpe Point elementary schools and then Glynn Middle School in Brunswick, Glynn County schools spokesman Jim Weidhaas said. After a year at Glynn Academy, he transferred out, Weidhaas said.
Marcelli graduated from Jackson High School in Massillon and twice qualified for Ohio’s state wrestling tournament.
The plane crashed and then exploded shortly after takeoff from Cuyahoga County Regional Airport in suburban Cleveland about 10 p.m. Monday. The four men were trapped inside the wreckage.
The devastated parents of of Lucas Marcelli, Bryan and Angela Marcelli, speak about their son who was killed in a plane crash in Richmond Heights on Tuesday.
Lucas Vincent Marcelli and three fellow Case Western Reserve University students rented a small plane for the four-hour tour.
Shortly after takeoff from the Cuyahoga County Regional Airport about 10 p.m. Monday, the plane crashed, then exploded into a ball of fire, killing the four men trapped inside.
On Tuesday, Marcelli’s Jackson Township family spent a grief-stricken day talking with media and accepting the condolences of family and friends who offered comfort.
‘JUST A LITTLE JOY RIDE’
Bryan and Angela Marcelli didn’t know their son had planned to fly on the first day of the fall semester, though Angela Marcelli knew her son had a friend at Case who was a pilot. The Highway Patrol’s early morning visit to the family bearing the tragic news was a dreadful shock.
Lucas Marcelli worked hard in school — and on the wrestling mat. No one doubts he would have become the orthopedic surgeon he had planned to be.
The 20-year-old Jackson High School graduate and standout wrestler wanted to make the most of his life, and inspired everyone around him, said his family and friends.
He took care of his body by working out and eating healthy. He made academics a priority, and maintained a GPA above 3.5. In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing. He and his brother and sisters grew up wrestling. Evidence of their love of the sport is found in the wrestling mat in the family’s basement.
Marcelli’s future plans were similar to his twin sister’s, Michaela, said his parents. She has her sights set on becoming a physical therapist.
The pilot of the plane, William Felten of Saginaw, Michigan, was a sophomore at Case with Marcelli. Felten got his private pilot’s certificate on Aug. 8, 2013, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
Also on the plane were first-year students Abraham Pishevar, 18, of Rockville, Maryland, and John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Georgia.
The 1999 Cessna Model 172R was preparing to take off from the airport in Richmond Heights, according to a news release from the Chardon post of the Ohio Highway Patrol. The Cessna began its ascent after takeoff and crashed just outside the airport in Willoughby Hills before bursting into flames.
“They were going for a flight around the vicinity ... just a little joy ride,” Angela Marcelli said.
Marcelli said she trusted her son’s choices. He was not a risk taker. He was ambitious and self-driven.
“There was really nothing wrong with what he was doing,” she said.
‘ANGEL WATCHING OVER’
The Marcellis learned the news at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. They contacted their other children and family members. Television news reporters had gathered at the Marcelli home by Tuesday afternoon. The family spoke with media as a steady stream of friends and family phoned and visited to offer condolences.
“He’s the kind of kid people want their boys to grow up like,” said Eddie Chevalier, a friend of the family who had lunch with Lucas last week before the Marcellis drove their son to Case.
His parents said their son got along well with everybody and made everyone in his life feel important. He made the best of every situation.
“We would go sit out on the trampoline and have our talks at night,” said his younger sister, Marissa, 17.
His girlfriend of more than two years, McKayla Linz, said in a text message that it was difficult to find the words to say how much Lucas meant to her.
“He was my role model and No. 1 supporter in everything I did, and he taught me things I will have for a lifetime,” she said. “Although I can’t spend forever with my best friend, he made the 2.5 years we dated all worth it and now I have my angel watching over me.”
Angela Marcelli told how her son completed six chapters of organic chemistry over the summer to be prepared for the coming school year.
“He took his free time to prepare like that and did what he could to make himself better,” she said. “He would bring everyone up around him.”
WITNESSES TRY TO HELP
Mark Gerald, 45, said he was sitting on his front porch when the plane crashed nearby. He said he could hear the plane struggling, but didn’t see it until it hit the ground.
Gerald told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that he and his neighbors ran toward the plane hoping they could help, but it exploded as they approached.
“We thought we had (a chance to help them). It was too hot,” he said. “The whole fuselage was involved.”
William Honaker, 18, said he was driving nearby when he saw a “ball of light” and realized it was the plane on fire.
Honaker said he also tried to approach the plane, but onlookers warned him to stay away because of the intense fire.
“(The plane) was so mangled,” Honaker said. “I didn’t want to look at it anymore, to be honest.”
Marcelli and two of the other passengers on the plane — Pishevar and Hill — were members of the university’s varsity wrestling team, according to a post on Case Western’s website. Felten and Marcelli also were members of a fraternity on campus.
Marcelli was a four-year wrestling letterman at Jackson, including back-to-back sixth-place finishes at the state tournament to cap his career. He also was an Academic All-Ohioan while with the Polar Bears.
As a freshman wrestler at Case last year, he posted the team’s best win total with 30 wins while qualifying for the NCAA Division II Mideast Regional as a 149-pounder. He also earned Scholar All-America honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
"He was just fun to be around,” said his father, who is an assistant wrestling coach at Jackson High School. “He was responsible. He was a mature kid. He will be missed — a lot.”
Lucas Marcelli told GateHouse Ohio Media in a 2012 interview that he planned to study pre-medicine and his most influential person in wrestling was his father.
“He is the one who got me started and coached me until high school,” he said. “Even though he isn’t my coach anymore, he still talks to me about every match.”
A moment of silence was held in Marcelli’s honor at Jackson High School on Tuesday, and the Board of Education had planned a silent recognition at its Tuesday night meeting, said district Superintendent Chris DiLoreto.
“Lucas was a tremendous student-athlete,” DiLoreto said. “He had an exceptional work ethic. He was a role model for all students. He’s the type of student that all students would emulate. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends.”
A crisis management team will be available at the high school, DiLoreto said.
“We’re going to support any student feeling the need to speak to one of our guidance counselors as we move forward as a school family,” he said.
Case Western Reserve University also is making grief counselors available to students, and university president Barbara Snyder said in a statement that the school would be working closely with the four men’s roommates and friends.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
Story and Photos: http://www.cantonrep.com
In Memoriam: Abraham H. Pishevar II
Abraham Pishevar II, pictured left.
It is with great sadness that Georgetown Prep reports the sudden passing of Abraham H. Pishevar II '14.
Abraham, 18, died on Monday, August 25 in an apparent plane crash outside of Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
Abraham had just begun his freshman year at Case Western University.
Abraham embodied the Georgetown Prep mission.
He was a dedicated and enthusiastic student and key contributor on both the varsity football and wrestling teams.
Abraham joined members of the class of 2014 on a senior service trip to Pine Ridge, South Dakota last summer.
He was truly a man for others.
Georgetown Prep will update the community on any additional details and the family's arrangements.
Georgetown Prep will hold a prayer service at 2:25 p.m. this afternoon (August 26) in the Chapel of Our Lady.
Please pray for Abraham and his family during this difficult time.
- Source: http://www.gprep.org
Obituary for William Michael Felten
September 14, 1994 - August 25, 2014
Resided in Saginaw, Michigan
|William Michael Felten|
The son of Jennifer L. (Haffner) and Dr. William R. Felten was born September 14, 1994 in Saginaw, Michigan.
He attended Bethlehem Lutheran grade school and graduated from Valley Lutheran High School, Class of 2013, where he was a member of the football team.
Michael was a sophomore in the Pre-Med program, majoring in Economics and Bio-Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio.
He was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
Michael also belonged to Saginaw Wesleyan Church.
He was passionate about flying and was a member of a Cleveland flying club.
His music talents led him to play the bassoon and violin.
He had his diving certificate, his own DJ business, and loved sports, especially all Chicago Sports teams.
Surviving besides his parents, Jennifer and William, are two sisters, Rachel L. Felten and Nicole M. Felten, all of Saginaw, MI; his grandparents, William and Doris Felten, Sheboygan, WI; Gerald and Lois Haffner, Waukesha, WI; Jan Haffner, Tinley Park, Illinois; several aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.
He will be greatly missed by Haley Leaym.
Memorial services will take place at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 30, 2014, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 808 Weiss St. Saginaw.
Pastor Robert W. Tibbitts will officiate.
Friends may visit with the family at the W. L. Case and Co. Funeral Chapel, 4480 Mackinaw Rd. from 3:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 p.m. Friday and at the Church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the memorial service.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider Valley Lutheran High School.
- Source: http://www.casefuneralhome.com
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Carl Monday & his investigative team have discovered more about the plane involved in the fatal crash that killed four Case Western Reserve Students.
The plane was owned by Lawrence Rohl, an instructor at the T&G Flight Club, located at the Cuyahoga County Airport. It's unclear if the pilot of the ill-fated plane, William Felten, was a student of Rohl's.
Monday tried reaching Rohl at his home to ask him about the plane's maintenance history. No one answered the door. The FAA said it's up to private plane owners to maintain their aircraft and keep records. At the flight school, students and staffers on hand politely declined to comment on the plane's history.
But Monday learned that the plane involved in the crash, a Cessna 172R Skyhawk, was in the air just five days ago. The aircraft was flown to Wright Brother's Airport in Dayton. No reports of any problems there. No problems until last night, when the usually reliable 172R crashed shortly after take-off.
19 Action News reviewed FAA records, which show 15 fatal crashes of the CESNA 172R since 1979. But 13 of those crashes were attributed to pilot error. Two remain undetermined. The plane that crashed last night was built in 1999.
Last night's crash didn't keep a T&G student pilot named Victor out of the air today. During his flight, he looked and down and saw the wreckage from last night's tragedy. He told reporter Monday, "I realized it could have been me."
Story and Video: http://www.19actionnews.com
RICHMOND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Flying at night can be tricky, and if something goes wrong, the pilot has to know exactly what to do. In this case, what the pilot did will be closely examined.
He reported that he was having a problem climbing and had requested to return back to the airport. A turn at low altitude when you're having trouble is a problem. The NTSB says that is what was going on when the Cessna went down.
"From what we were told, he started a left turn and that is when he crashed. Everybody knows in the aviation world, is when you start to turn back, you start to lose altitude, and you lose some life. And if you don't lower the nose, you're going to lose airspeed to hold that altitude," says Pam Sullivan, NTSB investigator.
Bob Snezek, of Zone Aviation, has been teaching flying lessons for 16 years. He defers to the NTSB for a full report but has some thoughts.
"My professional opinion would be he was having trouble with the engine, tried to make it back, got disoriented a little bit, maybe stalled the airplane, sounds like what he did."
Bob says taking off into darkness can prove disorienting, until you get up into the air and can lower the nose to see the ground.
"We have a hard time making the horizon out, which makes it a lot tougher to keep the wings level," he says.
The NTSB will make the final judgment on the crash after a lengthy investigation, however, it is typical to have preliminary findings in a week.
- Story and Video: http://www.19actionnews.com