PHOENIX – A small plane sputtered and crashed into a building near a north Phoenix airport Wednesday, killing the pilot and sending huge clouds of smoke into the early-morning sky.
The Cirrus SR-22 single-engine aircraft had taken off from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport around 6 a.m. and crashed about a quarter-mile away after circling back to land.
Witnesses heard the plane's engine sputter before it crashed into an industrial building outside the airport and burst into flames, said Detective James Holmes, a Phoenix police spokesman. The crash destroyed the aircraft.
"What you have is a bundle of charred metal," Holmes said.
A blue tarp was placed over the wreckage and some pieces of the plane were scattered around the crash scene. The plane came to rest against a building that was blackened by smoke.
The Federal Aviation Administration had investigators at the scene Wednesday afternoon to determine the cause of the crash. Authorities said the pilot was a man, but his identity was being withheld until his relatives could be notified.
The plane was registered to a corporation called Magneto Investments of Phoenix.
"It may have been doing takeoffs and landing practice," FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
There were no reported injuries on the ground, according to airport officials.