Coroner’s Office IDs 2 plane crash fatalities

The Chester County Coroner’s Office on Wednesday, April 2, identified the two victims of a fatal plane crash in West Goshen Township on Sunday, March 29.

Joseph Deal, 64, of Drexel Hill, the owner of the Piper PA-28-140, was piloting the fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft. He was accompanied by Richard C. Poch, 67, of West Chester, a certified flight instructor. Patty Emmons, the public information officer for the Coroner’s Office, said both men died of “multiple injuries.”

Poch was a flight instructor with TAS Flight School, a Cessna Pilot Center at Brandywine Airport, according to online records. He was also listed as a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served a stint as a space shuttle mission controller with NASA.

National Transportation Safety Board Senior Air Safety Investigator Tim Monville described the flight as a “check ride” or “flight review.” Under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, licensed pilots periodically undergo a proficiency test, accompanied by a certified flight instructor, Monville said.

He said a witness described seeing the flight take off about 1:30 p.m. from Brandywine Airport in West Goshen Township, hearing the plane’s engine sputter, recover, sputter again, and then bank left before disappearing. He said his agency is working with the West Goshen Township Police Department and the FAA to determine the cause of the crash.

Gleason described the crash site off of the 1000 block of Saunders Lane as primarily industrial, approximately a half-mile from the airport. He said his officers could not get near the scene until firefighters extinguished the fiery wreckage.

Monville said he expected a preliminary report to be released next week. The follow-up analysis report would likely take between nine and 12 months, he said.

John S. Kassab, manager of the Brandywine Airport, said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the accident during the investigation, the airport maintains an excellent safety record. According to the NTSB Aviation Accident Database, which dates back to 1982, only one other fatality occurred at Brandywine and that was in 2005.

Kassab said the airport, which handled more than 40,000 flights last year, serves many of the businesses around the Route 202 corridor, along with medical rescue and transfer flights, chartered flights, law enforcement activities, pipe and power line patrol, air freight and personal use. The airport provides the same services as the Philadelphia airport, minus the international flights, he said.


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