Pilot killed in plane crash near San Manuel Airport


by Jennifer Thomas


Posted on October 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 15 at 7:07 PM

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SAN MANUEL, Ariz. -- A pilot was killed when his plane crashed in San Manuel Thursday morning.

The home-built single-engine Mustang II FB crashed about two miles north of the San Manuel Airport and caught fire, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

It is believed the pilot was planning to make a local flight and return to San Manuel.

According to a witness, the pilot reported over the radio that he was having oil pressure problems and was returning to the airport. Suddenly, the plane went into a spin and crashed into a canyon known as Smelter Wash.

PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney said the 77-year-old pilot from Oracle was the only person on board and he was killed instantly. His name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

San Manuel is about 2.5 hours southeast of Phoenix and a little more than an hour northeast of Tucson.