The single-engine Mooney M20 aircraft went down just before 6 p.m. less than a mile north of Plano's Air Park-Dallas Airport. Images from the scene show the fiery crash occurred on the doorstep of the popular Mama's Daughter's Diner and a nail salon inside the Plano shopping center.
The pilot, identified by the Plano Police Department as Arizona native Elzie M. McDonald, was the only person aboard the aircraft. He was just days away from celebrating his 88th birthday when the crash took his life, the police department said.
"During this difficult time, we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the pilot," it said in a post on Facebook.
At a news conference, per CNN, Plano Fire Department Lt. Daniel Daly said the plane "did not land on or collide with anything," though the aircraft becoming engulfed in flames caused a nearby unoccupied vehicle to also catch fire. No other injuries were reported at the scene.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating the cause of the crash.
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