Yup, that was the sound. By the time I'd gone to external view to see around the observer, the plane was almost fully engulfed in flame, trying to get back to the field. He didn't get far before it nosed over and down he went, like a falling meteor.
Scary stuff. I'm hoping that killing the engine and landing as quickly as possible, anywhere I can, will keep it from happening to one of my pilots. I'd rather eat a fence than burn.