updated 8/22/2008 1:39:55 PM ET 2008-08-22T17:39:55

An experimental aircraft crashed into a house shortly after takeoff Friday, killing the pilot and two people inside the home, authorities said.

The pilot of the home-built plane radioed that he was in trouble shortly after taking off from the North Las Vegas Airport, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Hawthorne, Calif.

"He said he was unable to gain altitude and was going down," Gregor said.

Firefighters quickly doused an intense fire in the single-family home in a neighborhood southeast of a main runway at the airport.

The pilot and one resident of the house died in the 6:28 a.m. crash, and another person in the house died after being taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, said a deputy fire chief, Kevin Brame.

The names of the dead were not immediately released.

Gregor characterized the rear-propeller Velocity 173 RG aircraft as "experimental," and said it can be built from a kit. FAA records showed the aircraft was certified for flight in 2002, he said, and was owned by a Las Vegas resident. The name of the owner was not released.

Gregor said FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were traveling to North Las Vegas to investigate the crash.

North Las Vegas Airport is the second-busiest airport in Nevada after McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, according to the airport's Web site. It's a busy hub for small planes and jets, and serves as a base for sightseeing flights to the Grand Canyon and other attractions.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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