News9.com

ALTUS, Oklahoma -- Two people died after a civilian airplane crashed about a mile and a half west of the Altus Municipal Airport at about 11:30 Sunday morning.

The pilot and passenger both died when the 2001 Skybolt experimental aircraft crashed in a field in Jackson County. The plane had taken off from Altus airport at about 11:19 a.m. and for unknown reasons crashed to the ground and caught fire.

The pilot was Robert Munson, 38, from Blair, Oklahoma. The passenger was Zachary Cook, 17, from Altus.

A spokesperson at the airport said they could see wreckage and flames from the airport as emergency personnel responded to the crash. Several witnesses also saw the crash from a distance.

The two men were flying in the two-seater homebuilt plane for fun.

A close friend said Robert Munson was an experienced pilot and worked as a firefighter at the Altus Air Force Base. Munson wanted to fly so badly he washed planes in exchange for flight time and eventually earned his license as a pilot. Muson's friend said the only comfort is knowing this pilot died doing what he loved.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the exact cause of the crash.