The 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno identified the pilot as Lt. Col. Billy “Taz” Sullivan. He was the only person on board.
They said in a statement: “He was at the peak of his career in the Air Force and in the Air Force and truly the future of the 144th Fighter Wing. Our condolences and condolences go out to his wife, Diane, as well as her family and friends. “
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane crashed around 2:20 p.m., shortly after takeoff. The aircraft has also been identified as an RV-6A, a home-built single-engine aircraft sold as a kit by Van’s Aircraft.
The aircraft caught fire on the ground near the end of the runway. Firefighters from the city of Porterville intervened and extinguished the flames.
Authorities say it was a private plane.
Sullivan was attempting to return to the airport when the crash occurred, according to the FAA.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the causes of the crash.
The airport was closed for at least 12 hours.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above video is from a previous broadcast and will be updated.
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