Monday, March 2, 2015

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

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.

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.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

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. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

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. 

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

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. 

Engine

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.

Propeller

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. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

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.

http://registry.faa.gov/N4207P

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.

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.


The family of a man killed in a Willoughby Hills plane crash has voluntarily dismissed paperwork for a potential lawsuit against the plane’s owner, the pilot’s flying club and a fraternity.

However, the dismissal does not rule out a lawsuit being filed at a later date.

Abraham Pishevar II, 18, of Rockville, Maryland, was one of four young men killed in an Aug. 25 crash minutes after a Cessna Model 172R took off from Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights.

On Sept. 9, Pishevar’s estate filed a petition for discovery in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to gather all pertinent information for a potential civil lawsuit.

The other victims included pilot Michael Felton, 20, of Saginaw, Michigan; Lucas Vincent Marcelli, 20, of Massillon; and John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Georgia. All four were students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Named in the petition are T&G Flying Club, where Felton rented the aircraft; Zeta Beta Tau, Lambda Chapter at CWRU and the national Zeta Beta Tau Foundation; and Willoughby resident Laurence Rohl, the registered owner of the plane.

The estate’s attorney, Jordan Lebovitz, said he dismissed the petition Feb. 25 after receiving documentation from T&G Flying Club.

“We have been working with T&G to find out if there are any more culpable individuals,” Lebovitz said. “The next step is to evaluate the information. We are working to determine the cause of the crash, and are waiting for the final report from the National Transportation Safety Board.”

The attorney added that he wanted to show Judge Hollie L. Gallagher that the estate and T&G are working together. However, the dismissal is “not a final resolution to the dispute,” he said.

The petition has been dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled in the future.

Each side was ordered to pay their own final court costs.

Elizabeth Deemer, Pittsburgh-based attorney for T&G and the other defendants, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The petition sought documents describing the operation, maintenance, and storage of the Cessna from Rohl. 

It also raised questions as to whether the flight was somehow involved in fraternity rush or recruitment activities.

Felton’s private pilot license was issued Aug. 8, 2013, in Michigan.

Editor's note: This story was edited at 9:48 a.m. March 2, 2015, to correct that Michael Felton received his pilot's license in Michigan and rented the aircraft from T&G Flying Club.

Story and photo:  http://www.news-herald.com










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