COVINGTON, TN (WMC) - Officials are investigating a fatal plane crash at Covington Municipal Airport.
Covington Mayor Justin Hanson said one person, later identified as Lance Hooley, died in the crash, which happened in a field about 2,000 yards east of the airport terminal and runway.
Officials said the single-passenger amateur-built aircraft crashed shortly before 5:30 p.m.
Hooley was an avid flier, officials said.
When the plane crashed outside the airport, it caught fire and a huge column of smoke could be seen for miles.
Hours after the crash, smoke still hung in the air around the crash scene where Hooley lost his life.
Word of the deadly crash spread fast in the small town of Covington.
"I got a call from my wife on the way home," said Covington resident Gary Richardson.
On social media, Hooley posted photos and videos of himself in the experimental jet that he built, which crashed Saturday.
Richardson says he knew Hooley.
"He drives by in the morning and I would always wave and stuff and he was well-liked man, very well-liked man," Richardson said.
Now, the question is how Hooley and his beloved aircraft went down.
"If it's the pilot I think it is, it's not pilot error," Richardson said. "Because the man knows his stuff."
Officials said this is the first crash in at least 3-4 years, and Hooley was flying in from Chicago.
TEMA and FAA responded to the scene, and the FAA will take over the investigation.
"I feel for the family because something like this is a loss and it's a loss to the community," Richardson said.
The airport did not sustain damage.