HESPERIA — Authorities said a 55-year-old man died Tuesday morning after a "hobby plane" he was piloting crashed off Sante Fe Avenue near Hesperia Airport.
Robert Alexander, of Hesperia, was identified by the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner division as the man who lost his life in Tuesday's crash.
Authorities were notified of a crash just west of the airport at approximately 10 a.m., according to San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Hesperia Station spokeswoman Jackie Chambers.
Sheriff's officials said Alexander was the solo pilot of a Quickstar MXL II, an ultra light sports aircraft. Chambers described the aircraft as a "two-seater hobby plane."
After taxing down the Hesperia Airport runway, Alexander was briefly airborne before going into "aerodynamic stall" and colliding in a field north of the airport, Sheriff's officials said.
Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene.
The County Hazmat Team was called because of a fuel leak from the crash, which occurred near the railroad tracks.
Terry Herndon, who lives near the airport, told the Daily Press that he's known Alexander for 25 years and helped load him into the plane Tuesday morning.
After declining to accompany Alexander on the flight, Herndon said he watched him take off and "go about 50 feet up in the air" before the plane made a hard turn and ended up going down.
Hesperia resident Jay Carlson, who said he and his brother were a friend of the pilot, told the Daily Press he got a call from somebody who works at the airport notifying him of the crash.
Carlson said his brother helped Alexander build the plane and described him as a "guy who liked to live on the edge."
"I guess this is it, it's hard to believe," Carlson said.
Authorities shut down Santa Fe Avenue as they conducted an investigation. Chambers said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board had been notified and were responding.