The crash happened just after 8:40 a.m. near Deep Gap on Hardin Road, about 10 miles northeast of Boone, according to officials.
Deputies told WSOC's Dave Faherty the pilot crawled from the wreckage and was found some distance away from the plane. Troopers identified him as 67-year-old Danny Dunn and said he suffered burns to more than 70 percent of his body.
Dunn was then flown to Baptist Hospital. He later died.
North Carolina Highway Patrol said Dunn had taken off from his small airstrip in front of his home Wednesday morning, which is a few hundred yards from where the plane went down and caught fire.