The Greenwood pilot killed Tuesday night when his plane crashed near a private airstrip south of Schlater has been identified as Mark Bright.

Bright, 27, died when the single-engine, two-seat aircraft he was flying crashed around 8 p.m. shortly after takeoff. No one else was on board, according to Leflore County Coroner Debra Sanders.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident, said Kathleen Bergen, communications manager with the FAA in Atlanta.

Keith Holloway, a media relations officer with NTSB, said it usually takes 12 to 18 months before a cause is determined.

An autopsy on Bright will also be conducted, Sanders said.

Bright was flying a 1976 Bellanca Citabria, a fixed-wing pleasure aircraft that he and other partners had purchased in 2016.

Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks said that, according to witnesses, Bright had just taken off from the airstrip at Schlater Ag Air, a cropdusting service owned in part by Bright’s father, Gary Bright, when the plane experienced problems.

“He just took off, the witnesses say, and he got up in the air to make a turn, and the motor just stalled out on him, and he came straight down to the ground,” Banks said.

The plane dove nose first into the airstrip, but there was no fire at the crash scene.

Banks said emergency first responders reached the scene from his department, the Greenwood Fire Department and MedStat ambulance service.

It took more than an hour to cut through the wreckage to remove Bright’s body from the aircraft, the sheriff said.

Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or

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