A student and his flight instructor were killed yesterday during practice maneuvers after their single-engine plane crashed into a warehouse parking lot near Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
The aircraft collided with a cargo trailer shortly before noon and both became engulfed in flames, said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore. The trailer was parked along a loading dock at the TJ Maxx Warehouse near Red Lion Road and Roosevelt Boulevard.
The blaze was under control 20 minutes later, said Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer.
The names of thevictims were not released by the Federal Aviation Administration or other authorities. Butbroadcast reports identified them as Charles Angelina, 24, of Cross Street near 8th, South Philadelphia, and Adam Braddock, 28, of Fountainville, Bucks County.
Angelina was an aviation mechanic, family members said last night. They declined further comment.
The Grumman AA-1C aircraft was owned by Herbert Hortman, owner of Hortman Aviation Services, a family-owned flight school and rental company on Ashton Road near the Northeast airport. The plane was manufactured in 1977, according to FAA records.
Hortman said he was in "shock, disbelief" when he received the news of the plane crash.
Any investigation into the cause of the flight will take at least a year, he said. "It is not believed to be mechanical in nature," he said, in a phone interview. "It appears to be one of those unfortunate accidents."
As to a report that the control tower had ordered Angelina to make a right turn but he turned too steeply, Hortman said that was "pure speculation."
The instructor had been teaching for two years at Hortman Aviation and had been a pilot for four years, he said. The victim, who had logged 1,700 hours of flying time, was close to landing a pilot position with a regional airline, Hortman said.
"He was very, very professional, very committed to the profession," Hortman said. "He was extremely diligent working with students."
This was one of the student's last flights before his pilot's certification flight, Hortman said.
"He was a young professional looking to do this for a career." *
Staff writer David Gambacorta and the Associated Press contributed to this report.