No other injuries were reported in the crash, which occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. in 10000 block of North Sutter Avenue, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The deceased pilot, the only person onboard the aircraft, was not immediately identified.
The Civil Air Patrol's California Wing later identified the pilot as a member of that organization, but did not release the pilot's name.
The plane was identified as a Cessna 182T.
"Our hearts go out to the family of the member involved, and to all of the volunteer Civil Air Patrol members in California Wing who diligently serve their state and country with pride and professionalism," said Col. Ross Veta, Commander of the California Wing, Civil Air Patrol.
The Civil Air Patrol is a citizen auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. In California, there are more than 3,600 members in eight groups and 72 squadrons and wing units providing emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education. They operate a fleet of 27 aircraft and 45 ground vehicles. The volunteer members help with emergency search missions, promote education and other public service functions.
Firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished flames that engulfed several parked vehicles near a Whiteman Airport runway. The wreckage of the plane was nearly obliterated.
Initial reports that the aircraft had struck a house appeared to be unfounded.
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In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the crash happened as the single-engine Cessna was approaching the airport's Runway 12.
LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said the plane hit "energized power lines" which then fell to the street below. "Firefighters then immediately cordoned that area off with yellow tape to ensure safety, so no one gets electrocuted," he told reporters at the scene, adding that the LAFD was working with the city's Department of Water and Power to deenergize the lines.
The cause of the incident is under investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.