Pilot killed in small plane crash near Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix identified

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PHOENIX -- A pilot was killed when his small plane crashed into a vacant building  just short of the runway while trying to land at Deer Valley Airport Monday morning.

It happened just before 11 a.m. in an industrial park about 1/2 mile from the aiport.

According to Jonathan Jacobs of the Phoenix Fire Department, one person was on board the small private plane. Officials on the scene confirmed that the pilot, later identified as John C. Gomes III, 72, died in the crash.

According to the tail number, the plane, which was registered to a Scottsdale resident, is a 1972 Beech F33A, also known as a Beechcraft Bonanza. The Beechcraft Bonanza is single-engine plane seats five and was first introduced in the 1940s. It has been in production longer than any other other plane in history.

According to Billy Cartwright, who saw the plane go down, the Bonanza sputtered just before the crash.

"It was definitely a motor problem," Cartwright said. "It sounded like it might have clipped the building before it hit."

Cartwright said he tried to get to the plane and open the door, but intense flames made that impossible.

No injuries on the ground were reported.

The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the deadly crash.

This is the second time a plane has crashed into a building at Deer Valley Airport in less than two months. The last time it happened was on Aug. 4. The plane burst into flames on impact. The pilot was killed in that crash.

Deer Valley Airport, which is home to an aviation school, is located in the area of 19th Avenue and Deer Valley Road in Phoenix. With 402,335 takeoffs and landings in 2009, it is the 14th busiest of all U.S. airports and the busiest general-aviation airport in the nation.