Updated 07/31/11 – 1:33 p.m.
BIG ROCK, Ill. (CBS) — A 73-year-old man died Sunday morning after a small experimental plane crashed in west suburban Kane County shortly after takeoff from an airport in Aurora.
According to the Kane County Sheriff’s office, the plane crashed in a corn field at 7:48 a.m. Sunday near Granart Road and Camp Dean Road in unincorporated Big Rock. The plane had just taken off from the Aurora Municipal Airport when it began losing altitude for an unknown reason.
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Before crashing into the corn field, the plane smashed through a set of nearby power lines, according to the Sugar Grove Fire Department, which also responded to the crash.
The Kane County Sheriff’s office said the pilot, 73-year-old John Morrison, died in the crash.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said Morrison called the control tower to return to the airport shortly after takeoff, but crashed before he made it back.
Morrison was making a test-flight of a single-engine, fixed-wing E-Racer, according to Molinaro. FAA records showed that Morrison had built the plane himself, Molinaro said.
Kane County authorities said Morrison, an Aurora resident, was an experienced pilot with a long history of flying experimental aircraft and was the sole occupant of the plane at the time of the crash.