Police in Michigan have identified the Ottawa man who died when his small plane crashed northeast of Detroit Thursday morning.

Police in St. Clair County said 51-year-old Stephan Maisonneuve was flying a 1981 Cessna model 340 twin engine airplane and was expected to land at St. Clair County International Airport around midnight.

When the plane was late, a search ensued, and police found the plane crashed about 400 metres from one of the airport's runways, next to a softball field.

Maisonneuve was the only person aboard the aircraft.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Reports indicate the pilot told air traffic control there were problems with the right engine before losing communication with the tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.