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3News Investigates: The troubled history of Cleveland's T&G Flying Club

The flight school is linked to at least three crashes in the last 10 years and total of six fatalities, including Baruch Taub and Binyamin Chafetz just last month.

CLEVELAND — Two weeks after a deadly plane crash in upstate New York left two Cleveland men dead, the flying school that owned the plane along with its head have remained quiet.

T&G Flying Club, based in Cleveland, advertises online as a one-stop shop for pilots and pilots-to-be, with promises of smooth flights. The club's owner? Laurence Rohl.

But the five-star Facebook reviews mask looming questions about both the flight school and Rohl after another fatal crash involving one of his planes.

"I am declaring an emergency; our oil pressure is dropping," Greater Cleveland-based pilot Baruch Taub, 55, told Air Traffic Control shortly after taking off from New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport on Jan, 19. "The engine is overriding right now."

In the plane with him was Binyamin Chafetz. Both were bound for Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights after attending a funeral in New York.

"I can't see anything out here," Taub further said.

Just minutes after takeoff, caught in the middle of a storm, Taub and Chafetz crashed miles away from Westchester County airport in White Plains, New York. Both were killed.

This was far from the first incident involving T&G.

"Hi, we had a plane crash," Catherine H. Terez said in a 911 call after a 2021 wreck in Mayfield Heights. "I'm at Mayfield City School District."

Rohl, Terez, and a pilot trainee were in the midst of a training exercise when an engine malfunction forced an emergency landing near Mayfield Middle School. The small plane landed in a football field yards away from the building, and online NTSB accident records show an investigation still underway.

However, the first fatal accident linked to T&G was back in 2014. The fiery Willoughby Hills crash claimed the lives of four Case Western Reserve Universty students.

An NTSB investigation report determined a miscalculation of body weight hindered the plane from flying correctly. The plane was rented out to the 20-year-old pilot, William Felten, and registered to Rohl, according to FAA records.

Court documents show a lawsuit filed by one of the student's parents suing T&G and others was ultimately dropped six months later.

According to the FAA, the single engine plane Taub and Chafetz were flying — with the identity letter 19MT — was registered to Daviation Inc. in Willoughby. Online state business records list Rohl as the owner of the business.

As of Thursday, the flying club website still lists the crashed plane Taub and Chafetz were flying as an available rental, one of 19 to choose from. A total of five of the planes are registered to Daviation Inc., per the FAA.

The other 14 planes are registered to eight other business or names, online records show, including Larry Rohl, Laurence DBA Rohl, Alpha Wings Inc., Pink Skies Inc., and more. 3News Investigates discovered that all businesses and names connected to the aircraft have the same listed Willoughby registration address, also associated with Rohl.

Yet when you search the companies in online state business records, each are registered under a name other than Rohl's. Two of the business T&G's planes are registered under on the FAA website — Flight Wings Inc. and Air Z Flying Services Inc. — do not show any information in online state business records. One of the club's planes is also registered to a Ronald Rohl in Illinois.

NTSB accident and preliminary reports online say Taub and Chafetz's plane crashed under "unknown circumstances." The vehicle's FAA registration shows it was built in 1976 and reissued an airworthiness date in 1998, certifying it for safe operation and up to date maintenance according to federal standards.

Any maintenance records from 1998 up until this point lie in the hands of Rohl and the FAA. 3News Investigates attempted to contact Rohl multiple times and even went to all three locations linked to his business, but Rohl was nowhere to be found.

We have requested all FAA records associated to the plane Taub and Chafetz were flying, including maintenance records, but the timeline for obtaining those documents is weeks.

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