SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA - Pilots working out of a small rural airport off Sorento Road said they heard the trouble, before they saw the crash.
"The engine quit right after he took off," pilot Rodger Grotheer said. "He stalled it and landed it straight in."
Sacramento rescue workers said the pilot crashed his experimental Ultralight aircraft nose-first into the field across from where he took off. The man was breathing and conscious when firefighters pulled him out, but he suffered serious injuries.
"Extraction took 5 to 10 minutes to get to him and untrap him from the aircraft," Sac Metro Fire Battalion Chief Maurice Johnson said. "That in of itself is difficult because there's not a lot around the person. The person is really one with the aircraft."
The Ultralight is described as a homemade, thin wood frame plane with a single cushion seat. The pilots at the airport said the victim is from North Natomas and has been flying from this airport for the last three years. He bought the plane from the person who built it.
"He bought the airplane a year and a half ago and he has about 20 hours in it," Grotheer said.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter happened to be flying in the area and witnessed the crash. The CHP helicopter transferred the pilot to UC Davis Medical Center.
The crash is still under investigation.