"I heard the revving engine for about four to five seconds, then instant impact. I turned around and the birds were all flying," recalled neighbor Susan Foster. "I saw the black smoke billowing up. I came in and called police. They were here in maybe four minutes."
Friendswood police and fire departments received several 911 calls. The plane was torn up so badly that the aircraft numbers were said to be barely decipherable. The pilot -- the only person aboard -- was killed. His body was found by emergency responders.
Marc Faber with the Friendswood Police Department explained, "As the aircraft went into the trees it started losing pieces. The wreckage is scattered out over a 150 to 200-foot area."
The name of the pilot is not being released until his family can be notified. His plane was based at the local Pearland Regional Airport, where he's described as an experienced flier.
Airport manager Wayne Messinger said, "The pilot is based here, so it kind of hits home. It's like a member of the community, like losing a neighbor or someone you've known for a long time."
The cause of the crash is not yet known. The weather, which has been clear all day, is not believed to have been a factor. The FAA has control of the investigation.