A small plane crashed shortly after taking off from San Manuel Airport in Pinal County on Thursday morning, killing the 77-year-old pilot, according to local law enforcement authorities.
The name of the pilot, who is from Oracle, was not released until family could be notified.
The single-engine, homebuilt Mustang II FB crashed in a canyon about two miles from the airport about 9:30 a.m., according to Ian Gregor of the FAA.
Pinal County sheriff's spokesman Tim Gaffney said the pilot was the only person on board.
According to a witness, the pilot reported over the radio he was having oil pressure problems and was returning to the airport, Gaffney said. Suddenly, the plane went into a spin and crashed into a canyon known as Smelter Wash.
Gregor said the FAA believes the pilot was planning on making a local flight and returning to San Manuel.
Gregor said he could not confirm the plane's tail number because it caught fire after the crash.
He said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this accident and that the NTSB is the lead investigative agency.
The San Manuel Airport is approximately 45 miles northeast of Tucson.
No other information was immediately available.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:05 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:05:57 GMT
Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement, and his first event on the road back to glory is right here in the Valley. The 22-time Olympic medalist will compete in the Arena Grand Prix April 24-26, atMore >
Michael Phelps said in Mesa on Wednesday his love of swimming and thirst for competition led him to come out of retirement.More >
Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:42 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:42:05 GMT
Five top employees have been fired from Arizona's new child welfare agency. Director Charles Flanagan said these workers were responsible for the internal process that led to more than 6,500 abuse andMore >
Director Charles Flanagan said these workers were responsible for the internal process that led to more than 6,500 abuse and neglect cases being closed without investigations.More >
Thursday, April 24 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:25:54 GMT
The pictures strewn about Ava Boyce's house are a constant but pleasant reminder of the "angel" she said she had for 18 years."He never got in trouble, he never lied," said Boyce, talking about her lateMore >
The pictures strewn about Ava Boyce's house are a constant but pleasant reminder of the "angel" she said she had for 18 years.More >
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:19 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:19:18 GMT
Five fired top level social workers are banding together and fighting to clear their names. This comes after a Department of Public Safety investigation held them responsible for creating a system whereMore >
Five fired top level social workers are banding together and fighting to clear their names. More >