Two men, including one from Philadelphia, were killed Sunday morning when their small plane crashed just after taking off from New Castle County Airport, Delaware State Police said.
Terrence Daniels, 52, a Mount Airy resident who works as an administrator in the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg, was identified by his wife as the pilot of the Beechcraft 55 Baron twin-engine plane. According to records, the plane is registered to Daniels.
Christina Daniels said she was notified Sunday evening about her husband’s death after several media outlets had reached out to her, based upon the name identified in the plane’s registration.
“He was an amazing man,” she said of her husband.
Albert Dohring, 79, of Middletown, Del., identified by Delaware State Police as an “instructor,” was also killed in the crash.
The aircraft went down at 8:53 a.m in a wooded area west of I-95 in New Castle County, according to a Delaware State Police statement. A motorist who was traveling on I-95 in the area of Churchmans Road reported seeing the crash, police said. The location is less than two miles west of the New Castle County Airport.
Police said the pilot of the plane issued a distress call moments after taking off from Runway 32 in a northwesterly direction. They said the pilot and a passenger, who was not identified, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Daniels, 52, a veteran Army air cavalry staff sergeant who received his doctoral degree in education in 2017 from Drexel University, was a devoted pilot, according to social media postings on which he described his passions as “golf and flying my plane.” His screen name on YouTube, where he posted videos of his air travels, was “Baron B55 Driver.”
Daniels posted a video recounting a close call he had last year landing his plane — an engine failure that happened near enough to the airport that he was able to “catch the runway” and land safely.
“You would think I would have enough God-given sense not to go back flying,” Daniels said in the post. “But no, that’s not me, that’s not my style.” Rather, Daniels said, he flew in another plane that day, to mark his 51st birthday.
“So, happy birthday to me,” he said. “Maybe I should be more careful since I have a new baby boy. I’ll think about it. All right. That’s it. Peace.”
Daniels lived in Mount Airy with his wife of 15 years, Christina, a SEPTA lawyer, his year-old son, Grayson, and “our three crazy pugs," according to a social media posting.
The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Delaware State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the aircraft manufacturer. Officials declined to speculate on a cause of the crash.
The Beechcraft 55 Baron is a popular early version of the Beechcraft Baron series; the B-55 was introduced in 1964 and produced through 1982, when it was replaced by updated models.
Daniels, who received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree from St. Joseph’s University, wrote his dissertation for his doctorate on the impact of student loan debt on African American students in Philadelphia who attended the University of Phoenix. He worked as an education administration associate in the state education department’s division of federal programs.
“He was a lifelong learner,” said Penny Hammrich, the dean of Drexel’s education school, who served on Daniels’ dissertation committee in 2017. “I’m in shock.
“He had a passion for giving a voice to those who couldn’t speak,” Hammrich said, referring to low-income students saddled with debt from a private for-profit university, the subject of his dissertation.
Sunday’s accident is the second fatal plane crash in the area this month. On the morning of Aug. 8, physician researchers Jasvir and Divya Khurana of Lower Merion died along with their daughter Kiran, 19, when their single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza F33A crashed into backyards in Upper Moreland within minutes after taking off from Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
The pilot, Jasvir Khurana, 60, was a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Temple University’s Katz School of Medicine. His wife, 54, was a pediatric neurologist at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and a professor at Drexel University College of Medicine. Kiran Khurana graduated last year from Harriton High School, where she was on a nationally ranked squash team.
Staff writer Diane Mastrull contributed to this article.