The victims aboard the Cessna 210 that went down Saturday near the Westchester County Airport were identified as Keith Weiner, the 63-year-old pilot; his wife, Lisa Weiner, 51; their daughter Isabel, 14; and her friend, Lucy Walsh, 14, according to Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP controls the watershed land 35 miles north of New York, about a mile from the airport in the hamlet of Armonk.
The six-seat, single-engine aircraft took off at about 1 p.m., headed for Montauk on eastern Long Island, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said.
Moments later, the pilot radioed to say he was returning to the airport. But the plane crashed before reaching the runway and exploded into flames, Baker said.
Keith Weiner was a flight instructor, his father told the New York Post.
"He was such a good pilot," said William Weiner, 85, himself a retired pilot. "He was meticulous, so careful. We used to practice what would happen in the event of an emergency like this - something had to have gone horribly wrong."
The family was planning a lunchtime getaway by the ocean, taking along their daughter's friend. The Weiners lived in an apartment on Manhattan's West Side, Sklerov said.
William Weiner told the Daily News that his son owned an art gallery in Piermont, a village on the Hudson River north of the city, and had named it CAVU, which stands for fair weather in aviation.
He said he received a Father's Day card from Keith Weiner that read: "You're still the wisest and best engineer. To know you is to love you."
Officials of the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene Sunday, investigating the cause of the crash, Sklerov said.
The plane was registered to Wein-Air Aviation Ltd., of Wilmington, Del., according to the FAA.