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Pilot Killed After Crashing Lightweight Craft Near Petaluma Airport

PETALUMA (CBS SF) -- A pilot was killed when his ultra-light aircraft crashed near the Petaluma Municipal Airport, according to Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

Multiple 911 calls reported the crash around 12:30 p.m., Friday.

The plane went down near Adobe Creek Golf and Country Club, near the southeast approach to the airport. The sheriff's helicopter crew along with emergency personnel and ambulances all converged on the scene.

Early reports do not indicate whether anyone else was in the craft with the pilot.

The aircraft was initially described as a glider, but the sheriff's department said it had a cockpit and an engine.

Bob Patterson, manager of the Petaluma Municipal Airport, said the crash site is about a mile southeast of the airport. He said he had no information about the plane or pilot.

"We don't get many gliders here," Patterson said.

Unlike a conventional plane, a glider is a motorless aircraft whose free flight does not depend on an engine. It relies entirely on the dynamic reaction of air currents against its lifting surfaces.

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