Nixon was presumably flying his home back home. He lived just north of where it went down. And now, not much is left of his single-engine SportStar Plus.
Investigators say Nixon claims he lost control as part of its canopy popped open on his approach to Covey Trails airport.
Two people at Hines Nursery heard the crash. They didn't see it set down, but it did just south of the runway inside the nursery. Authorities say it spun repeatedly before finally coming to rest.
"He hit the trailer right there in the corner," said eyewitness Felix Vargas. "He died for sure."
The men say Nixon motioned for help. He couldn't get out of the wreckage on their own. They say it was smoking and feared it could explode. They got him out, though, and he was flown by medical helicopter to the hospital.
But does Vargas feel like a hero?
"Not really," he said. "I wanted to see him alive."
At this same nursery in 1992, two people died in another plane crash. Nixon is said to be in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.