The incident was reported shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday, Mike Goode, county director of 911 dispatch, said.
Witnesses said the single-engine plane took off normally, then went into a nosedive and crashed, bursting into flames, about a mile north of Pulaski Airport, near Pulaski, Tenn.
The pilot was a man, 24, and an Alabama resident, Sgt. Bill Miller of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.
The (Nashville) Tennessean reported the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.