Investigators from the Alameda County coroner's office and the National Transportation Safety Board surveyed a field in Livermore on Tuesday, the morning after a pilot died in a plane crash there.
The pilot, who was from Pleasanton, was identified Tuesday afternoon as 75-year-old Michael Seal. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.
The Piper PA22 crashed shortly after leaving from the Livermore airport at around 9 p.m. in the area of Hartford and North Livermore avenues, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said that investigators had not yet confirmed the tail number of the plane because the plane was so "badly burned."
NBC Bay Area's chopper flew overhead on Tuesday morning, showing the wreckage of the plane still on the ground and charred brown grass. Investigators roped off the scene with yellow crime scene tape.
Preliminary reports from the FAA said the pilot reported control problems before crashing about three miles northeast of the airport. The fire from the crash burned a few acres and was quickly extinguished by firefighters.
Isaac Lopez, who lives nearby, saw the plane and thought at first, mistakenly, that the pilot was purposely doing tricks. His mother, Stacy, then realized that the loops in the sky, were not for fun.
"We realized he wasn't going to make it," she said.
NBC Bay Area's Lauren Inderhees and Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.