July 14 (UPI) — The pilot and lone passenger aboard a home-built plane was killed shortly after takeoff at Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley Airport on Friday, officials said.
The single-engine Pazmany PL-2 crashed while still on airport property moments after taking off from runway 19. The pilot, Jeffrey Ying, 63, was declared dead at the scene, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
Multiple witnesses told investigators the plane’s engine noises stopped between 100 and 200 feet off the ground.
“The aircraft was observed making a left turn, left wing low, and the aircraft then descended uncontrollably, hitting the ground and coming to rest you see it now,” said Patrick Jones of the National Transportation Safety Board, whose agents were on the scene investigating the crash.
The plane crashed nose-first into the ground.
Jones said the crash was likely a result of mechanical failure, though the pilot’s apparent attempt to turn around and return to the runway was a notable departure from standard pilot training for such a situation.
The plane was registered to a private company and had a valid aviation certificate issued in July 2014, though it was technically considered an experimental aircraft because it was not built by a licensed airplane manufacturer like Cessna or Beachcraft.