LANHAM, Md. (AP) — The New York pilot who died when his plane crashed into a suburban Washington, D.C., home was communicating with air traffic controllers before impact, a federal investigator said Monday.
But it wasn’t immediately clear whether Gordon Allen, 61, of The Bronx, reported any problems to controllers before his single-engine aircraft crashed into a home’s carport in Lanham, Maryland, on Sunday afternoon, said National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Doug Brazy.
Allen’s plane took off from College Park, Maryland, and was bound for White Plains, New York. About three minutes after takeoff, at an altitude of roughly 1,700 feet (520 meters), the plane began a descending right-hand turn that continued until controllers lost radar and radio contact with it, according to Brazy.
Allen was the only person on the plane, and his body was found among debris in a driveway across the street, news outlets reported. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.
Both the plane and the home’s carport caught fire, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for Prince George’s County fire and emergency services. The owners of the home were on vacation, neighbors said. At least 18 homes in the area lost power, news outlets reported.
The home where the plane crashed is located about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from an airport in College Park.
Brazy told reporters that Allen was properly licensed to fly the plane, a four-seat aircraft built in 1978.
“It’s a very common airplane used in flight training, but it’s also used to go on vacation and travel,” Brazy said.
A preliminary report on the crash should be available in approximately 10 days, but the investigation likely will take about 18 months to complete, Brazy said.