A single-seat motorized glider based out of the Minden-Tahoe Airport crashed Saturday afternoon at about 12:45 p.m. killing the pilot.
The broken craft was found in the Kirman Field area, between Stephanie Way and Sunridge east of the Carson River, about three miles northwest of the airport according to The Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane apparently began to disintegrate while in the air. Part of a wing was found at Northern Nevada Correctional Center grounds, a couple miles to the north, according to police. Because of the potential for the plane to have lost pieces among the acres of marsh and heavy, dried brush, the entire area was immediately turned into a crime scene.
About a half hour after the crash, a search plane circled low above the site, scanning for other pieces of the wreckage.
"We started receiving calls from a number of people saying they had seen an airplane going down in the general area," said Sergeant Dan Britton of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.
"An eyewitness said he heard an airplane engine revving at high speeds and then heard a loud popping noise, like a gun shot, and then he saw the plane fall apart," Britton said.
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were on their way to begin the investigation into what went wrong, authorities said.
The small cockpit and part of the rear of the glider lay broken, white as an eggshell. Part of its green civil aviation registry numbers were still visible.
Seven men, mostly off-duty policeman stood around the wreckage. They moved in a slow, somber motion, heads down, hands in pockets, heads down again after they pulled the man from the wreckage.
The name of the pilot has not been released pending notification of family.
Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.