NTSB Releases Preliminary Report in Charter Execuflight 1526 Crash in Akron, Ohio
The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the November 10, 2015 crash of Execuflight 1526. The accident aircraft was a British Aerospace BAe-125-700A jet, tail number N237WR. Tragically, all on board were killed, including seven passengers and two pilots. The passengers were members of Pebb Enterprises, a Boca Raton-based real estate company.
Learn more about Kreindler’s experience with Charter & Corporate Plane Crashes
What are the legal obstacles to overcome when litigating charter and corporate air crash cases?
• obtaining personal jurisdiction in the United States over the airline
• defeating a motion to dismiss under the doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens
• defeating a General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) defense
The aircraft departed from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Dayton, Ohio, and was only two miles away from the Akron airport at the time of the accident. Notably, there is no operating tower facility at that airport. However, according to the NTSB report, the Akron-Canton Approach Control provided the aircraft with radar vectors for a localizer instrument approach to runway 25.
The report reveals that a flight instructor landed at Akron just prior to the accident and reported his aircraft “broke out at minimums” while on the same approach. “Minimums” refers to the minimum weather conditions (cloud ceiling and visibility) required to legally attempt the approach. At the time of the crash, conditions were misty with visibility of 1¾ statute miles, a ceiling broken at 600 feet, and an overcast ceiling at 900 feet above ground level (AGL).
The minimum altitude the flight crew was allowed to descend to without having the runway environment in sight would be approximately 500 feet AGL. Judging from where the plane crashed, absent a mechanical issue with the aircraft, it appears that a loss of control of the aircraft may have resulted from maneuvering the aircraft at a slow speed in an effort to see the runway. It is imperative that one crew member fly the aircraft on instruments at all times without looking outside the aircraft while only the other pilot looks outside the cockpit for the runway environment. Only after the runway environment is in sight can the flying pilot look outside and fly the aircraft to a landing visually.
The NTSB previously said there were no indications that the flight crew made a distress call before the jet clipped power lines and plunged into an apartment building in a “left-wing-down altitude.” The aircraft was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which the NTSB has recovered and is preparing to examine in Washington, DC. The CVR should shed light on what the flight crew was doing in the cockpit and whether they were adhering to proper procedures and rules.
NTSB investigators will be looking into the flight crew’s conduct and what role weather might have played in the crash, and will also examine the aircraft’s engine, flight controls and maintenance records.
ExecuFlight, Inc., based in southern Florida, operated the charter flight and provided the flight crew. The Hawker jet is registered to Rais Group International NC LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina. The aircraft was manufactured in 1979 and hangared in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It had Honeywell TFE 731 SER engines with a 2003 airworthiness certification date.
Kreindler’s Experience with Charter Flight Accidents
Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has successfully prosecuted claims on behalf of victim’s families in accidents involving charter operators like ExecuFlight and Hawker jet aircraft, including a Hawker 800 landing crash which tragically killed a plane full of executives in 2008.
“Although the pilots were blamed by the NTSB for the 2008 Hawker crash, our investigation also uncovered a defect with the aircraft flap/speed brake system which substantially contributed to the crash,” said Kreindler & Kreindler partner Brian Alexander.
The causes of such crashes are not always as they seem, and typically are not singular. Often a confluence of factors leads to such tragedies.
It is also important to understand the legal issues which may affect your rights and recovery in a general aviation case, including the limitations created by the 1994 General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) which may be applicable in cases like this one involving aircraft that are more than 18 years old. If you have any questions concerning this accident please contact us.
Read Kreindler attorney Brian Alexander’s comments on the crash in the Sun-Sentinel (11/12/2015).
About Kreindler & Kreindler LLP
Founded in 1950, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP is internationally recognized as the first and most prominent aviation law firm in the United States. The firm has been the leading plaintiff legal counsel on thousands of aviation cases, including major ones such as Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the September 11th terrorist attacks, Pan Am Lockerbie Flight 103, Korean Airlines Flight 007, American Airlines Flight 587, and many cases of small private and commercial crashes, including numerous corporate jet charter flights.
Photo Credit: British Aerospace BAe-125-700A jet, Tomás Del Coro