A TRAINEE pilot and instructor are in a critical condition in hospital after their small plane crashed in central western NSW.
Emergency crews found the four-seater single-engine Cirrus SR-22 aircraft engulfed in flames on Aerodrome Road at Orange Airport about 7.10pm on Tuesday.
The two occupants, a man and woman, were being airlifted from the scene to Royal North Shore Hospital suffering critical burns, police said.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the pair were conducting a training flight at the time of the accident.
A team of ATSB investigators would begin an examination of the wreckage, gather available recorded data and interview witnesses on Wednesday morning, the bureau said in a statement.