AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (FOX 11/CNS) - A plane crash-landed on the Ventura 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, but the pilot managed to get out safely as the vintage aircraft caught fire in the center divider area.
The crash, which was reported about 1:45 p.m. near Liberty Canyon Road, shut down both sides of the freeway, creating a miles-long traffic backup.
No vehicles were involved and the pilot was uninjured, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which responded and doused the flaming wreckage.
The plane was a North American AT-6, according to the aircraft's owner, the Van Nuys-based Condor Squadron, a nonprofit group founded in 1965 by a group of World War II fighter pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board, identified it as an SNJ-5 variant of the AT-6.
Just saw a plane crash on the 101 pic.twitter.com/QUUfG5NzAL— Cole Puente (@colepuente) October 23, 2018
Both sides of the 101 Freeway were closed. Northbound traffic was being taken off at Lost Hills Road, and southbound vehicles at Liberty Canyon Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Condor Squadron spokesman Chris Rushing said the pilot, who is in his early 40s, took off from Van Nuys Airport on a proficiency flight to sharpen his piloting skills.
According to its website, the Condor Squadron operates military aircraft museums at the Van Nuys Airport and in Burbank, and it flies restored aircraft at parades and memorial events honoring veterans.
The group issued a statement thanking first responders for their quick action, and saying the organization is cooperating with the crash investigation.
CHP Capt. Johnny Starling said the pilot took off from Van Nuys Airport, but eventually heard some loud pops from the engine and then lost power.
Starling said the pilot suffered only some singed hair from the resulting fire. He told the station the pilot has about 30 years of flying experience.