Although not nearly the size of a commercial airliner, the twin-engine jet that crashed in South Bend Sunday afternoon was large enough to ravage a row of homes along N. Iowa St.
The aircraft was a Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA. Built in 2008, the plane had seating for six passengers and two pilots. Despite dual cockpit capabilities, the jet was approved to fly with just one pilot.
According to a NewsCenter 16 general aviation expert, Premier 1A planes are quite rare, with roughly 300 in service worldwide. Each is equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, satellite weather graphing system and electronic chart software. They generally market between $2.5 and $3 million dollars.
According to FlightAware.com, the plane, with tail number N26DK, was registered to 7700 Enterprises of Montana LLC., with offices in Tulsa, Okla. It was powered by two Williams FJ44-2A turbo fan jet engines.
According to KJRH, our NBC affiliate in Tulsa, Okla., 7700 Enterprises is owned by Wes Caves. Caves was co-piloting the Premier 1A with former Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis. Both perished in the crash.
During a media conference Monday evening, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Andrew Todd Fox said his office is not aware of any previous safety issues with Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA aircrafts. Fox believed Caves and Davis were certified pilots, but their level of experience was not known.
The downed plane had recently been placed on the market. Part of its online sales listing reads, “Every Hawker Beechcraft pre-owned aircraft is placed through a rigorous multi-point evaluation by their trained maintenance experts, further guaranteeing your used aircraft investment. Covering major engine and systems inspections, as well as thorough flight and maintenance histories, this "nose-to-tail" assessment ensures all models are 100 percent purchase-ready.”
To view the aircraft’s avionic, exterior and interior specifications, plus view cabin and cockpit photos click here.