Small plane goes down near Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix

PHOENIX - A pilot practicing touch-and-go maneuvers and his two passengers have walked away from the crash of a small plane at Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix.

Authorities say three men from TransPac Aviation Academy were aboard the single-engine Piper PA 28 when it crashed and caught fire about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on the airport's east end.

The company says the pilot followed their training and they're cooperating with the investigation.

Air15 video showed emergency crews surrounding a heavily-charred aircraft. The plane was intact, but much of the fuselage was burned.   

One man needed treatment for burns to an arm, but the other two men weren't injured. Their names haven't been released.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Phoenix police say the plane was taking off when it lost power for some reason and crashed.

Russ Flory saw the plane crash happen.

"I hear a pop in the plane, ran to the fence by where it crashed and as it hit the ground, it flipped nose first and kind of kicked over to its right," Flory said.

Flory ran through his office building, telling the receptionist to call 911.

"I just saw the pilot and copilot in the plane, the door opened up and caught fire immediately," he said.

He said it looked like a pretty smooth landing, but the plane looked so bad he thought no one could have survived.

"When I saw the door open up, they were in there as the plane was rolling. I thought someone would be seriously injured so I was amazed they were walking out on their own will," Flory said.

Mark D. Griffith lives close to Deer Valley Airport and received an unusual call from his daughter Tuesday morning.

"I said 'what do you mean is the house okay?' She said, a plane crashed really close to your area," Griffith said.

It can be nerve-wracking to live so close to an airport.

"Even when the windows and the doors are closed and you start to hear it and the house starts the shake, you're like, 'how close is it?'" said Paige Frederick, who lives close to Deer Valley Airport.

Frederick and Aaron Yunger admit they got worried when they realized the flight school down the road has been lined to 20 accidents since 2008.

"With the number of crashes they've had, it is pretty scary," Yunger said.

A second aircraft, unrelated to the first crash, experienced a hard landing on the runway of Deer Valley airport around 1:30 p.m. Julie Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department, said the plane landed on the runway with its gears up.

The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft and is expected to be OK, she said.




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