MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The NTSB and the FAA are investigating what caused a small vintage plane to come crashing down on Long Island.

The came spiraling downward, taking a nose dive into a Melville neighborhood. The pilot, 52-year-old Ken Johansen, a former U.S. Navy pilot and a United Airlines pilot with decades of experience, was killed.

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He was flying in formation with other planes when witnesses say his aircraft separated from the rest and took a plunge.

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“It was a lot of black smoke and fire,” one witness said. “I was afraid it would spread.”

“Extremely lucky nothing was hit,” Melville Fire Chief David Kaplan said. “Houses are approximately 200 feet from where the airplane went down.”

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The planes Johansen and his colleagues were flying were the same ones spotted over Jones Beach in the annual air show this past weekend.