MILLVILLE -- The pilot of a World War II-era TBM Avenger aircraft made an emergency landing at Millville Airport Saturday night after the left wing of the plane burst into flames shortly after takeoff.
Pilot Terry Rush, 63, of Cherry Hill was airlifted to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, in Pennsylvania, with what are believed to be second- and third-degree burns, according to state police.
He suffered burns to his left side and both hands. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, police said.
After landing the plane around 4:30 p.m., Rush reportedly exited the craft, walked onto one of the wings and jumped to safety while the plane was still rolling and on fire.
Rush was the only person onboard the aircraft.
Millville, Cedarville and Laurel Lake fire companies responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze in 10 minutes.
The Avenger, owned by Thomas Duffy, of Haddonfield, was one of several warbirds Duffy keeps at the airport.
Stephen Williams, director of airports for Delaware River and Bay Authority, which manages the airport, said the plane was completely destroyed.
The Avenger, a torpedo bomber, was the largest single-engine aircraft built in the U.S. until the end of World War II.
The National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and state Department of Environmental Protection were notified of the incident.