PERKASIE, Pa. (AP) — Federal authorities say a plane that crashed in a residential street near a suburban Philadelphia middle school last year, killing two people, went into a stall and went out of control as the pilot was practicing maneuvers during an instructional flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in its final report last week that the owner of the four-seat Beech 35-C33 that went down in Bucks County's Hilltown Township in February 2022 was flying with an instructor to prepare for a commercial pilot practical examination.
The board said the probable cause of the crash was “the pilots’ exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack” while practicing maneuvers about 1,600 feet above the ground “which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and and a loss of airplane control.”
The Bucks County coroner’s office said both the pilot, 55-year-old Brian Filippini of Philadelphia, and the instructor, 74-year-old Alfred George Piranian of Chalfont, died of multiple blunt-force injuries. Investigators said they couldn't determine whether a heart attack the flight instructor suffered about three weeks earlier played any role in the accident.
The pilot had an estimated 733 hours of flying experience and the instructor about 11,500 hours, about 8,000 of it while providing flight instruction, the report said.
The aircraft went down about 200 feet (60 meters) from the edge of the Pennridge Central Middle School campus. The plane crashed onto a residential street, and “during the impact, a propeller blade separated and landed in a residence,” the safety board's report said.