FOREST HILL, Md. (AP) – A privately owned military jet clipped two houses and crashed into a yard Sunday, killing the pilot, a federal official said. No one on the ground was reported hurt.

The Czechoslovakian-made L-39 training jet took off from Martin State Airport and crashed about five miles to the north in Forest Hill, said Jim Peters of the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were no reports of injuries on the ground or in the houses about 10 miles northeast of Baltimore, Peters said.

The pilot’s name had not been released Sunday afternoon.

The jet was registered to Bond Jet, LLC, in Wilmington, Del., Peters said.

Harford County spokeswoman Merrie Street quoted witnesses as saying the jet exploded when it hit the ground, producing a massive plume of black smoke. Debris from the jet littered the area.

Peters said it was too early to tell what led to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate.

Peters said the aircraft is a favorite of North American jet enthusiasts, many of whom travel to Eastern Europe to purchase them. He said pilots have to be trained and rated in the aircraft before they can fly them, and a weapons system must be removed.

AP-ES-08-24-03 1613EDT

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