Pilot killed in plane crash near Deer Valley Airport identified

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A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland
A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland
A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland
A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland A plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning. By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A young student pilot was killed when her plane went down near 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road not far from Deer Valley Airport Thursday morning.

According to FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer, the Piper Archer was on approach to Deer Valley Airport when it crashed about a mile west.

It happened at about 8:40 a.m.

Aerial video from the scene showed that the plane sustained major damage.

3TV photographer Todd Martin arrived on the scene about 10 minutes after the plane went down. He said witnesses did not hear any engine noise as the plane was coming in. They believe they craft did not have any power.

Martin said witnesses told him the plane clipped some power lines as it was coming in from the west. One neighbor said the power in his home went out.

According to witnesses, the plane hit two more sets of power lines before crashing in an empty lot in a mobile home community by the airport.

Because of its proximity to the airport, air traffic in the area is significant. Witnesses, however, thought this plane was coming in unusually low. That's when the craft clipped the first set of power lines.

The 24-year-old pilot, now identified as Jingduo Zhai, was a student at TransPac Aviation Academy, a flight-training school that operates out of Deer Valley Airport. She was the only person aboard the plane. Zhai, who also went by Amy, is believed to have been an Arizona resident, but her family reportedly lives out of state.

TrasPac, formerly Pan Am International Flight Academy, owned and operated the 2002 Piper Archer that went down. The flight school trains hundreds of pilots each year for airlines around the world.

While it's not yet known what caused the crash, there reportedly were low ceilings in the area at the time.