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Mismanaged Approach Caused Charter Plane Crash
March 2017 - The National Transportation Safety Board determined a flight crew’s mismanagement of the approach and many deviations from standard operating procedures resulted in the crash of a Part 135 on-demand charter flight in Akron, Ohio. The charter company’s casual attitude toward compliance with standards was a contributing factor in the November 2015 accident.
ExecuFlight, en route to Akron Fulton International Airport, was on a non-precision approach and descended below the minimum descent altitude, even though the pilots did not have the runway in sight. When the first officer attempted to arrest the descent, the airplane, a Hawker 700A, entered an aerodynamic stall and crashed, killing all nine persons on board the aircraft.
“ExecuFlight’s casual attitude toward safety likely led its pilots to believe that strict adherence to standard operating procedures was not required,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “Following standard operating procedures is critical to flight safety. Adhering to these procedures could have prevented this accident and saved lives.”
The NTSB investigation revealed the crew deviated from various standard operating procedures. For example, contrary to the company’s practice of having the captain fly the airplane with revenue passengers on board, the first officer was flying and the captain was monitoring. Also, the captain’s approach briefing was unstructured, inconsistent, and incomplete, and, as a result, the flight crew had no shared understanding of how the approach was to be conducted.
When it became apparent that the approach was unstabilized, the captain, who was ultimately responsible for the safety of the flight, did not take control of the airplane or call for a missed approach.