Pilot of Greensboro-Registered Jet Dies in Ala. Crash

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A Burlington pilot died in a plane crash Friday night after picking up his jet from northeastern Alabama.

Thomas Coble, 58, died after a plane wreck around 7:30 p.m. in Rainbow City, about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.

Coble was found dead at the scene. He was the only person on board.

Coble was flying his L-39 Albatross fighter jet back to Burlington after it was undergoing maintenance work in Gadsen, Al.

Officials said the plane burst into flames less than a minute after takeoff and landed in a wooded marshy area less about two miles from the airport.

The cause of the wreck is still being investigated.

Officials said Coble had nearly 40 years of flying experience and owned multiple planes.

He founded Coble Trench Safety in 2002, a regional firm specializing in trench and traffic safety equipment.

Coble had one son and one daughter. Officials said he was well-known and highly respected in the community.