A private plane that crashed in a Montgomery County neighborhood last month had been in the air for three minutes before it descended abruptly and dove into the ground at more than 200 mph, killing the three members of a family on board, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
The four-page report did not indicate the cause of the crash that killed Jasvir and Divya Khurana, both physicians in Philadelphia, and their 19-year-old daughter, Kiran. A final report is likely to further detail the crash and address the cause.
Jasvir Khurana, 60, was at the controls of the Beech F33A on Aug. 8 with plans to fly to Creve Coeur Airport in the St. Louis area after stopping at Ohio State University’s airport for fuel, the report said.
A minute after 6 a.m., he was cleared to fly from Northeast Philadelphia Airport. It was earlier than the Khuranas had expected to depart, but with a forecast of thunderstorms, the family left their home in Lower Merion as the sun rose and few clouds were in the sky.
At 6:12, the four-seat, single-engine plane, registered in Khurana’s name, began to rumble along Runway 33, picking up speed as it listed into the air.
The plane got to about 1,000 feet and was flying between 126 and 161 mph before it dropped 500 feet, picked up speed, and crashed noisily — the engine was “screaming,” witnesses told NTSB investigators — into woods in Upper Moreland Township, according to the report. The Khuranas died instantly.
No others were injured, and no homes were hit. The plane’s engine was heavily damaged, but the rest of the plane largely stayed intact and did not catch fire.
Khurana, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Temple University’s Katz School of Medicine, kept a pilot’s logbook that showed his flights since Feb. 21, 2010. His last entry was July 28, the NTSB said.
Over the years, according to the report, he logged 985 hours of flight, with 396 spent in the plane in which he died.
In the 30 days before the crash, Khurana had flown a little over seven hours, taking off from Northeast Philadelphia and flying an hour each day on July 27 and 28.
Khurana, who held a private pilot certificate, was approved to fly and land a single-engine plane, and to evaluate weather and fly in inclement conditions. He had last been reviewed for both qualifications last Sept. 22.