Police and air safety authorities are investigating the site of a fatal light plane crash in south-western Victoria last night.

A 20-year-old trainee pilot from New South Wales died when the single-engine Cessna 182 crashed into a paddock six kilometres north of the Hamilton Airport around 8:00pm (AEST).

The plane burst into flames upon impact.

Police say witnesses, including some other student pilots, are helping them with their inquiries.

Malcolm Sharp from Sharp Airlines says the pilot was conducting a training exercise.

"The student pilot was undertaking solo circuits to gain experience towards commercial licence," Mr Sharp said.

"It's a tragic accident and it will be fully investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) and CASA.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of the young pilot for their loss."

Mr Sharp says the young man was very well liked in the local Hamilton community.

Neville Blyth from the ATSB says investigators will look at a range of factors to find the cause of the crash

"Any ground marks or impact marks the aircraft might have made, the condition of the wreckage, flight controls, anything like that that might indicate why the pilot had difficulties that he did," he said.

He says the weather was fairly good at the time and there are no indications it contributed to the crash.

"We'll be gathering maintenance records, speaking to any witnesses that may have observed the flight or the accident itself," he said.

"Just basically gathering the facts so that we can start an investigation into this tragic accident.".

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