Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were sent to Fullerton Airport Friday to try to determine why a twin-engine plane loaded with fuel crashed and burned while taking off, killing the pilot.
The six-seat Beechcraft Duke crashed about 7:50 p.m. Thursday while departing from Runway 24 at Fullerton Municipal Airport. The plane was traveling about 80 mph and was around 15 feet off the ground when it veered left and crashed to the ground, exploding into a fireball on a taxiway, according to Fullerton Fire Department Division Chief Kathy Schaeffer.
Crews arrived within 10 minutes of dispatch and had the fire out by 8:13 p.m., she said.
The pilot, identified by the coroner’s office as Robert Kenner Ellis, 48, of Utah, was pronounced dead at the scene, Schaeffer said.
The plane had been fueled up just before takeoff, she said.
The pilot had filed a flight plan from Fullerton to Heber City Municipal Airport in Utah, according to Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration. Heber is about 45 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.