It happened around 3:45pm in the northwest corner of Pearland Regional Airport just south of Dixie Farm Rd. near County Road 127.
The 55-year-old pilot suffered head injuries. He was flown to the hospital by a medical helicopter stationed at the airport.
Investigators say the trouble began immediately after takeoff. Witnesses tell us they heard sputtering.
Investigators believe the pilot may have lost power of his single-engine Christen Eagle II and was trying to turn back toward the airport when he went down, hitting trees and then crashing into a creek bank.
"Oh, it's unusual. We have a lot of flights for many days and every once in a while something happens that an airplane goes down," said Wayne Messinger, airport operations manager. "Most of them don't result in any injuries, but this time it happened to draw an injury."
The airport in Pearland may see a half dozen planes take off and land per hour, and every pilot must be prepared to make split-second decisions should there be engine trouble.
"He happened to hit on a creek bank, and if it would have been a little higher and on flat ground, it would have resulted in a lot less injuries," Messinger said.
Carl Martin is an experienced pilot who learned of the crash shortly after he landed his own plane Sunday afternoon. He says he has never had an engine problem, fortunately, but it's a possibility he reviews from flight school every time he flies.
"Certainly, if your engine has a problem or fails, you certainly don't want to hurt anybody on the ground, but your options may be limited and you do your best to put the airplane down intact and not to hurt anybody else and not to hurt yourself," Martin said.
The injured pilot has not been identified. At last check, he was in serious condition.
Officials are investigating the exact cause of the accident.