Transport safety experts are heading to Orange in central western NSW to investigate a light plane crash that's left a trainee pilot and instructor with critical injuries.
The woman and man, both in their 40s, have been airlifted to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital suffering critical burns and fractures, after crashing on Tuesday night at Orange Airport.
The pair was allegedly practising take-off and landing procedures when the four-seater single-engine Cirrus SR-22 aircraft crashed near the airport's runway.
The plane was engulfed in flames as five emergency crews rushed to help the pair within 15 minutes of the plane coming down.
Acting Duty Operations Manager with NSW Ambulance Jason Speight said both victims were conscious when emergency services arrived on the scene, and that the woman had suffered more serious injuries and was in a critical condition.
"It's a sad day for the family," Mr Speight told reporters in Orange on Tuesday night.
A team from Australian Transport Safety Bureau will travel to the accident location on Wednesday morning to examine the wreckage, gather any available recorded data and interview any witnesses.