Investigators: Flight crew at fault in fatal Pebb Enterprises plane crash

The aftermath of the plane crash in Akron, Ohio (Screenshot of NBC News) and the seven Pebb Enterprises employees who were killed
The aftermath of the plane crash in Akron, Ohio (Screenshot of NBC News) and the seven Pebb Enterprises employees who were killed

The flight crew was to blame for the Ohio plane crash that killed nine people, including seven Pebb Enterprises employees last November, the National Transportation Safety Board determined on Tuesday.

On Nov. 10, Execuflight flight 1526 left Dayton, Ohio with Pebb principals Jared Weiner and Ori Rom, along with employees Gary Shapiro, Diana Suriel, Thomas Virgin, Nick Weaver and Diane Smoot. The group was on a trip scouting properties when the plane, a Hawker 700A, crashed into an apartment building and killed everyone on board, including pilot Oscar Chavez and flight officer Renato Marches.

According to the NTSB’s report, the flight crew’s “casual attitude toward compliance with standards; its inadequate hiring, training, and operational oversight of the flight crew; the company’s lack of a formal safety program; and the FAA’s insufficient oversight of the company’s training program and flight operations” were likely to blame for the crash.

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The captain and first officer of the flight failed to follow standard operating procedures related to speed, flaps and overall approach, investigators found. While the impact of the crash was survivable for some of the victims, the resulting fire prevented them from escaping, according to the report.

The NTSB also found that Execuflight didn’t fully evaluate the first officer’s “significant training difficulties” and that the company missed an opportunity to determine if he was fully capable of safely operating the plane.

Boca Raton-based Pebb, a commercial property management firm active in Palm Beach County, is now led by principal Bruce Weiner, president Ian Weiner, director of investments Robert Truett, director of leasing Aaron Zucker and director of development Eric Hochman. Hochman and Zucker came on after the crash.

In August of this year, the widow of Gary Shapiro filed a lawsuit against the estates of the crew members and the companies that owned, leased or chartered the plane.