Historic plane that crashed
The historic aircraft that crashed in Norco. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A twin-engine historic plane crashed Monday within a prison compound in Norco, killing the pilot and sparking a fire.

No prison guards or inmates were injured in the crash, which was reported about 12:10 p.m. at the California Rehabilitation Center on Fifth Street, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The Northrop N9M went down in an area of the prison yard under construction. The pilot, whose name was not immediately released, was killed on impact, according to the sheriff’s department.

He was the only occupant of the plane, which was consumed by fire.

The N9M, part of the Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino Municipal Airport, is configured like a flying wing, with two push-propellers mounted behind the cockpit. According to FAA records, the N9M destroyed Monday was the last one known to be flying of the four originally built in the early 1940s.

The type was considered in aviation circles to be a “grandfather” to the modern flying wings built by Northrop-Grumman, including the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Witnesses told KNBC4 that the twin went into a spin before slamming into the ground.

National Transportation & Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway told City News Service that an investigative team would be arriving at the crash site this evening.

Correctional personnel and county firefighters contained the post-crash fire within 20 minutes, according to reports from the scene.

Chino Airport, about 2.5 miles northwest of the prison, is home to a number of vintage and experimental aircraft.

Online videos of the N9M show that it was flying for demonstration purposes over the last decade, following a lengthy restoration. The plane that crashed was slated to perform in the annual Planes of Fame Air Show, scheduled for May 4-5, according to the event website.

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