The Wairarapa community has been devastated by the death of a third pilot in 10 months.
A top-dressing pilot died on a farm in Kourarau Hill near Carterton this morning - emergency services were alerted around 7.30am.
MetService reported the weather this morning was good for flying, with clear skies and light winds recorded.
The plane the man crashed was a top-dressing plane, used for aerial application of fertilisers over farmland.
He was found dead at the scene of the crash on Ruakiwi Rd.
Because he was spraying on the farm, he was deemed an essential worker.
The "experienced, dedicated, and hugely valued" pilot worked for Aerowork Aerial Spreading and operated out of Masterton's Hood Aerodrome.
In June last year, two pilots, Joshua Christensen and Craig McBride, died when their aircraft collided south of the aerodrome, on the southern side of the Waingawa River.
Skydive Wellington pilot Christensen, 20, and Wairarapa Aero Club member McBride were thought to have died on impact when their aircraft collided.
The death of the Aerowork pilot today would be a shock for the community, Carterton mayor Greg Lang said in a statement.
"It is a real blow for many in the flying and agricultural communities. My message to the community is to support each other," Lang said.
"These events are tragic at any time, but this death is made even harder to take with the community in lockdown.
"The Carterton community is incredibly close, and it has been challenging for all of us not to go about our daily businesses and see familiar faces on the street.
"Today's news will be extremely hard to bear for all of those involved – my thoughts go out to all of them at this tremendously difficult time."
Fertiliser company Ravensdown owned Aerowork Aerial Spreading and confirmed earlier today it was one of their pilots who had died.
Out of respect for the man's family, they would not identify the man.
"The team is working closely with the emergency crews and have reached out to the family," they said in a statement.
"As a close-knit team, there are feelings of shock and sadness as we grapple with this terrible incident.
"The pilot was an experienced, dedicated and hugely valued team member."
Police said the death would be referred to the Coroner and the Civil Aviation Authority would investigate the crash.
The Masterton aerodrome, which was the nearest MetService observation point to the crash, said a front had moved through the area before dawn.
A little rain fell before 5am, but satellite images showed clear skies and the sun getting above the cloud associated with the front.
The front moved away to the northeast of the region by the time of the crash, a MetService spokesman said.
Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson said the tight community of the Hood Aerodrome would be devastated by the death of the pilot.
"Today's news will have brought up difficult memories of the loss of two other members of our aviation community last year," she said.
"I'm sure I speak for the whole community in passing on our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of those involved.
"I also want to thank the emergency services personnel involved in responding to this morning's event; you have all been working hard to keep our community safe and we appreciate everything you are doing."