A community is in mourning after a light aircraft crashed near Braidwood, 90 kilometres to the east of Canberra.
The deceased pilot's name has not been formally released but it's understood he was from Picton in New South Wales.
Acting Inspector Ben Bowles of the Queanbeyan police said the pilot had been attempting to land at a strip on a property near the Nerriga Road when he lost control.
Eye-witness, Alan Hannaford, said, "It just happened in a heart-beat."
Mr Hannaford who has a stud farm on Nerriga Road said, the plane hit the ground nose first on his neighbour's property.
"He circled once, and when he circled a second time, he'd gone past the bottom of the strip. We thought 'Oh that's it, he'll head off'.
"And in a heartbeat, the left wing dropped and the plane did a sort of a 90 degree spin and just drove straight into the ground in."
Mr Hannaford has a landing strip on his farm, but it is not clear if the pilot was trying to land there or on a neighbouring property.
The dead man had flown from Camden to Moruya on Monday, stayed overnight and was flying back - but planning to land on the way at the Braidwood property.
The dead man is a stalwart of the business scene in Picton. He has developed property there, including a shopping mall.
One of his friends, Robert Kahn, said, "I'm devastated. He was a great man to do business with."
The deceased pilot was flying solo in a small two-seater XL-2 Liberty. "He loved flying," said Mr Kahn, who has been a tenant of the deceased man for 30 years as well as a friend.
The cause of the crash is not known. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating.
Three transport safety investigators from Canberra with experience in aircraft maintenance, operations and materials failure were to be deployed to the site.
"The initial ATSB safety investigation will include examination of the accident site and the assessment of aircraft and pilot records, weather information and any available recorded data," a spokesperson from the safety bureau said.
The area is outside normal air traffic control and the procedure would be for a pilot to broadcast his intentions on a recognised frequency.
Three ambulances and a rescue helicopter were dispatched to the scene by NSW Ambulance, though two of the crews and the helicopter were stood down when it was clear that nothing could be done for the crash pilot.
A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman confirmed the single engine XL-2 Liberty aircraft, with the registration number VH-XLK, had crashed just under four 3.5 nautical miles north-east of Braidwood.
The aircraft was manufactured in America in 2008 and was first registered in Australia in February 2009.
A NSW Police spokesperson said the body of the pilot had been found in the wreckage.
"A crime scene has been established and a report will be prepared for the information of the coroner," the spokesperson said.
Sue Pollard of the Royal Mail Hotel in Braidwood said that just after noon, "every ambulance and fire engine just took off".