The airport serves smaller planes rather than the larger commercial flights at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The crash happened at the start of rush hour alongside Interstate 95, the major north-south route along Florida's Atlantic coast. It's also near Fort Lauderdale Stadium, where the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles once held spring training, and Lockhart Stadium, where the defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Miami Fusion soccer teams played.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said he's amazed no buildings were damaged.
"It's a terrible scene. It's the scene of a tragedy," he said after walking through the wreckage.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said an investigator should arrive in Fort Lauderdale by Saturday.
There have been several other high-profile crashes at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport over the last decade:
— In 2009, an 80-year-old pilot died when he crashed his small plane into a home shortly after takeoff. Nobody was in the home, which was destroyed.
— In 2007, a small cargo plane crashed onto I-95 after takeoff. The pilot suffered serious injuries but survived. No one on the highway was hurt.
— Also in 2007, a small plane that had taken off from the airport crashed into the ocean while on its way to the Bahamas. Five people died.
— In 2005, a World War II-era cargo plane crashed into a neighborhood after a mechanical failure. The pilot was able to steer the plane into a street - six cars were destroyed as the plane skidded 100 yards but the three crew members survived and no homes were struck.
— In 2004, two people onboard a small plane died when it struck an auto body shop shortly after takeoff. No one on the ground was hurt.
Friday evening, repossession lot owner Knowles said six of the destroyed vehicles were repos, while the seventh was his own truck. His boat, mud buggy and camper were also destroyed. Several other vehicles sustained lesser fire damage.
"Luckily it was just a bunch of property damage," Knowles said. "Things can be replaced. People can't, unfortunately for the people on the plane."
Associated Press writer David Fischer contributed to this report from Miami.