RAINBOW CITY, AL (WBRC) – According to the FAA, a small plane crashed following takeoff at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport in Rainbow City. It happened around 6:30 Friday evening.
The pilot, said to be Tom Coble from North Carolina, was found dead on the scene.
The airplane was a Czechoslovakian-made single-engine jet trainer called the L39, also referred to as the Albatros.
A Gadsden police officer was in the area and decided to checkout what seemed to be a house fire along Perman Lake Road. As the officer approached, the smell of jet fuel was in the air and a plane was on the ground ablaze.
According to the FAA, the plane is registered to a company named Fighter Town USA in Greensboro, NC. The plane was headed to Burlington, North Carolina.