A Wilmington businessman died this morning when he lost control of his plane while trying to take off from New Castle Airport in Delaware.
Daniel Hart, 40, did get his Beechcraft Duke twin-prop six-seater about 150 to 200 feet in the air for about three seconds, said Cpl. Joseph DiStefano of the Delaware River and Bay Authority police department.
"He banked left, and then did a barrel roll and crashed into the ground," DiStefano said.
The crash and resulting fire so thoroughly destroyed the aircraft that authorities were initially unsure how many people were on board, and whether the plane was arriving or departing.
"You can't even recognize it as an aircraft right now," DiStefano said about an hour after the 7:15 a.m. crash.
The burning wreckage was extinguished by the Delaware Air National Guard, which is based at the airport, and local volunteer fire companies.
Winds may have played a role in the accident. Hart did receive a wind advisory from air-traffic controllers before trying to take off, DiStefano said.
Where he was headed has not yet been determined, because planes that small are not required to file flight plans, DiStefano said.
New Castle Airport is on North Dupont Highway, a couple of miles south of I-95 and the Delaware Memorial Bridge.