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California Briefing / Torrance

Student killed, pilot injured in plane crash

February 28, 2009|Dan Weikel

A home-built plane crashed at Torrance Municipal Airport on Thursday night, killing a flight student and seriously injuring the pilot, authorities said.

Officials for the Federal Aviation Administration said an Air Creation Twin 503 SL was preparing for takeoff about 9 p.m. when the engine suddenly revved in a ramp area near the airport's west end. The two-seat aircraft gained speed, clipped a parked plane and became airborne, reaching an altitude of 75 to 100 feet before plunging into a grassy area.

The pilot was identified as Jon Perry Thornburgh of Redondo Beach, a retired airline pilot certified to fly a variety of aircraft from hot air balloons to Boeing 767s. The Los Angeles County coroner's office did not release the name of the flight student who was killed.

-- Dan Weikel

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