A small home-built aircraft has crashed into a building during an attempt to land at Lawrence Municipal Airport in Kansas, killing the pilot.

The victim was identified as the former mayor of Newburyport, Al Lavender, who died after the plane he was flying hit a residential condominium building.

Footage from the scene shows the tail of the plane sticking out of the top of the building following the crash, with the residents of the building apparently avoiding injury as the plane hit the attic portion of the condominium.

The Mayor of Newburyport, Donna Holaday, told the Associated Press: "Our community has suffered a tremendous loss today and our thoughts and prayers are with the Lavender family."

She added that the former mayor had been a "caring and giving person" whose death was a loss to the city.

The aircraft flown by Lavender was a home-built single-engine plane, which was making its final approach to the airport when the crash happened, the Federal Aviation Authority told AP.

One of the witnesses to the plane crash told New England Cable News that the aircraft had come straight down out of the sky as it plummeted towards the condominium.

Keith Lontine told the station: "It looked like it took a nosedive out of the blue and smashed into the building."