The single-engine, single-seat plane was reported down just before 12:30 p.m. in an agricultural field near Las Posas and Pleasant Valley roads, said Ventura County sheriff’s Capt. Eric Hatlee.
The aircraft caught fire, but the flames had been knocked down by 12:36 p.m., fire officials said.
Capt. Brian McGrath, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department, said one person on the plane was pronounced dead at the scene.
That person was the only one on the plane and there were no reports of a mayday call, fire officials said.
The crash victim was not identified.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the aircraft was a single-engine home-built BD-5. It “crashed under unknown circumstances about 1,000 feet west of Camarillo Airport around 12:30 p.m.,” Gregor said in an email to The Star.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office started getting 911 calls about 12:30 p.m. about a plane in the field where leafy greens were growing next to a lemon orchard, Hatlee said.
He did not know whether there were any 911 calls of a plane in the air sputtering or smoking.
Soon after the crash, Pleasant Valley Road was closed to vehicles, but as close as they could get, drivers and passengers alike held up their smartphones to capture what was going on. A sheriff’s deputy unfurled crime tape between utility poles to stop onlookers from approaching as helicopters buzzed overhead.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the crash, Gregor said.
Sheriff’s deputies said they would be containing the area until NTSB and FAA officials arrived.
Local agencies responding to the crash included the Ventura County Fire Department, Oxnard Fire Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Camarillo Airport officials.
According to records linked to the identification number on the plane, it was declared airworthy on Aug. 15, 1998, and was registered out of Woodland Hills.
The BD-5 was created in the 1960s and marketed mainly in kit form in the 1970s, according to online accounts. It has a small, streamlined fuselage with the semi-reclined pilot under a canopy, the engine in a compartment in the middle of the fuselage, and a propeller-driving engine behind the cockpit. The Bede Aircraft Corp. went bankrupt in the mid-1970s, according to online reports.
The crash came several weeks after another crash at the airport killed two people. An amateur-built Wheeler Express 2000 stalled and crashed short of the Camarillo Airport runway on Aug. 7, killing a Salt Lake City couple, pilot John Wells, 60, and his wife, Tara Wells, 56. They had taken off from the South Valley Regional Airport in Salt Lake City.