LLANO – A small plane crashed Thursday in a rural high desert area near 165th Street East and East Avenue X, killing the pilot.
The pilot — who was in his 60s, according to the coroner’s office — died at the scene of the crash, which was reported about 12:15 p.m.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the crash, the single-engine Piper PA-25 was not carrying any passengers.
The plane did not catch fire when it went down in a vacant field, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The crash occurred less than a mile away from Crystal Airport, a private-use airport located about 6 miles south of Pearblossom.
A woman at the scene, Iris Scochio, said the aircraft was part of the Southern California Soaring Academy, which offers glider flight training at the airport. The flight school was closed Thursday, but its members were there for the nonprofit organization’s Wounded Service Member Glider Program. [Read more about the program here.]
“Every month they give free glider rides to the veterans from different hospitals,” Scochio said. “My girlfriend and I, we baked for them, took it over, and within a couple of hours this incident happened.”
“It was the tow plane that went down,” Scochio added. “It breaks all of our hearts that this happened.”
The pilot’s name is being withheld pending next of kin notification, coroner’s officials said Thursday evening.
UPDATE: The deceased pilot has been identified as 67-year-old Channing Morse.
[City News Service contributed to this report.]