Pilot critically injured in small plane crash at Montgomery Airpark in Gaithersburg

Small plane crash off the runway at Montgomery Airpark. (Photo: MCFRS)

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) - A small plane crashed at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg on Saturday afternoon, critically injuring the pilot.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said the Piper PA-28 crashed around 12:10 p.m.

Investigators said a 49-year-old man piloting the plane, who was hospitalized with potential life-threatening injuries, was the only person on board.

The FAA said the pilot reported a mechanical problem and tried to return after takeoff. Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says the plane was at an altitude of about 75 to 100 feet when it crashed.

During the landing attempt, the aircraft crashed at the intersection of Taxiways Bravo and Echo.

The airpark's main runway was shutdown while the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board investigate the cause of the crash, which is thought to be a mechanical problem.

The identity of the pilot has not been released, but plane registration records reviewed by ABC7 News indicated that the owner of the plane is registered in Chevy Chase, Md.