A private plane crashed Thursday afternoon while trying to take off from Pekin Municipal Airport, injuring the pilot.

About 3:30 p.m., the plane was about 20 feet to 30 feet off the runaway when it came back down and crashed, said Detective michael Eeten, the Pekin Police Department's Public Information/Intelligence Officer. The white-and-maroon, two-seat propeller plane appeared to have landed nose first from the damage.

A LifeFlight helicopter was called shortly after the crash and took off with 68-year-old Stanley Tinker of Sheffield, a village in Bureau County, about 4:15 p.m. for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. It took a while for rescue workers to remove Tinker from the plane. He appeared to have suffered injuries that weren't life-threatening and was conscious when he was flown to the Peoria hospital, Eeten said. The man had been complaining about pain in his lower body and back, Eeten said.

Workers took more than an hour to defuel the small plane before it was lifted onto a flat-bed trailer and hauled back to the hangars. Afterward, a firetruck with the Pekin Fire Department hosed down the tarmac and the surrounding area to dilute whatever fuel remained.

It wasn't clear what caused the kit-built plane to crash. The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and it was beginning its investigation into the crash. According to the FAA's national registry, which keeps a list of tail numbers, Tinker is the plane's owner.

Crashes at the municipal airport, which caters mostly to private pilots, aren't very common, Eeten said.

"It is something that happens ever so often. It's been several years since a plane has crashed here," he said.