NTSB meets to determine cause of Akron plane crash that killed nine

NTSB: Several factors blamed in deadly Akron plane crash
The voice recorder box gave more insight into the crash. (Source: NTSB)
The voice recorder box gave more insight into the crash. (Source: NTSB)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met Tuesday to determine the probable cause of the Nov. 10, 2015 plane crash in Akron. The crash, which involved a charter flight that hit an apartment building on Mogadore Rd., killed nine people.

The NTSB released the public docket on the plane crash in April. The report contained more than 1,100 pages, including the cockpit voice recorder transcript, witness statements, pilot training records and toxicology reports, to name a few.

The documents revealed that the co-pilot was flying the plane at the time of the crash and that the Pilot in Command (PIC) and Co-Pilot or Second-In-Command (SIC) had flown together three times in the past 90 days before the crash.

"What is really unusual and was in fact dangerous this particular co-pilot did not know what he was doing," said attorney Jamie Lebovitz.

In the voice recorder transcript, the pilot, Oscar Chavez, is talking with the co-pilot, Renato Marchese, who seems confused while trying to land the 1979 Hawker H25 twin-engine business jet at Akron Fulton International Airport.

The cockpit voice recorder details the Pilot-In-Command telling the co-pilot that his speed was too fast for his altitude and that he was "diving."

"He was setting this airplane up for a stall," Lebovitz said. "Which is exactly what happened. The airplane essentially fell out of the sky because it was being flown too slowly and without being configured or set up for the landing."

Chavez tells Marchese that he can't keep reducing the speed or the plane will stall. At one point he says, "You're diving. you're diving. don't dive. two thousand feet per minute buddy... [said with emphasis]."

Chavez warns him not to go to 2,000 feet per minute before the following exchange:

The plane crashed into an apartment building on Mogadore Rd., 2 miles from its destination. It's left wing tilted toward the ground on its decent. It clipped utility wires, hit the ground and crashed through the apartment building.

"He should have immediately said, 'I've got the airplane,' " Lebovitz said. "Those are the universal words spoken by pilots around the world when they see that a situation is potentially dangerous and unsafe in control must be taken over the airplane."

The Pilot in Command had never flown into AKR prior to that day.

The pilots had a combined 10,000 hours of flying experience and the highest level of pilot certification. Chavez was an experienced pilot with more than a decade of air miles under his belt.

According to the FAA, 39-year-old Chavez had all the proper credentials. He was certified to land single-engine commercial planes, as well as transport planes, like the one that crashed.

According to documents, the co-pilot, 50, who was flying at the time of crash had serious prior training problems that resulted in his termination from Sky King in February 2015. FO was current and qualified under Execuflight and FAA requirements

Both pilots were hired by ExecuFlight in June 2015

Chavez, 40, resided in Miami, Fla. He was fired in April 2015 from previous employer Heralpin USA  for missing a training course on Hawker800s. He was current and qualified under Execuflight and FAA requirements.

"One of his instructors said that he was having difficulty -- he being this gentleman who was copilot on this airplane -- he was having difficulty transitioning from a flight simulator into the real world of actually flying in airplane," Lebovitz explained.

In addition to the pilot and co-pilot, it was carrying seven associates from Florida real estate company Pebb Enterprises.

Photos: Victims Identified

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