PITTSFIELD (AP) – A flight instructor and a student pilot were killed Thursday morning when the small plane they were flying spiraled into the runway and crashed at the Pittsfield airport.

The plane was flying at 100 feet when it made a sharp turn, went into a dive and crashed nose-first into the runway, where it burst into flames, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The crash happened at 10:35 a.m. at municipal airport, which has a single 4,000-foot runway.

The victims were identified as the student and owner of the 1968 Cessna 150, Charles Brantner, 79, of Winterport, and the instructor, Ronald Curtis, 44, of Palmyra, who runs Curtis Air flight school, McCausland said.

The two-seater aircraft had dual controls, but investigators believe Brantner was at the controls, McCausland said. Brantner was sitting in the position usually occupied by student pilots, he added.

Federal Aviation Administration representatives were joined by an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Curtis owned a fixed base operation at the airport. A long-time pilot, he was married with four children.

“Ron was a family man. His integrity was beyond question. His only vice was he loved to fly,” said family friend Frank Woodworth.

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