The single-engine aircraft went down in the Red Oak area near NC Highway 43 - otherwise known as Red Oak Boulevard. The crash site is near the privately owned Double S airport.
Family members of pilot Von Roger Shanks says he crashed moments after he took off from a small airfield around noon.
Shanks, who is in his 80s, was flying a 1950 Ryan Navion B airplane alone."I was scared to death," Shanks step granddaughter Jennifer Whitchurch told ABC11 Eyewitness News. "My heart was beating so fast. I just wanted to know what happened, and when you come up to a scene and there's all the fire trucks and the cars, and police department -- you can't see what happened, the plane, what's going on, you just don't know. And you're scared you might run up on your family that's dead."
Family members say they are praying for his recovery.
"Anybody that's old, it's going to be hard for them, especially for a plane crash to make it out without some good prayers," Whitchurch said.
Family says Shanks is a longtime pilot.
"This is all he does all day -- working on planes," Whitchurch added. "He's always in that hangar working on planes. This is his favorite thing to do."
Shanks was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital by helicopter, and his condition is listed as "undetermined."