Air Force officials say a civilian pilot and passenger died when their Aero Club Beech plane crashed near a runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

An Air Force safety board will investigate the crash, which happened early Thursday in in the Panhandle region in northwest Florida.

Eglin officials say the pilot was retired Air Force Col. David A. Miles of Shalimar. The passenger was Thomas E. Lewis of Apalachicola.

Officials say the passengers were flying routine training maneuvers in Eglin's traffic pattern before the crash. The cause of the crash was not immediately released.

Officials at the base say the four-passenger plane was rented to the pilot through Eglin's Aero Club and that the club's planes are open to civilian pilots with proper credentials.