The twin-engine Cessna plane was bound for John Wayne Airport when it crashed a mile (1.6km) away on Sunday.
There were no survivors on the plane and no-one injured on the ground, Orange County fire authorities said.
The pilot had declared an emergency before the incident, and national transportation authorities are now investigating the cause of the crash.
Fire authorities were called at 12:28 local time (19:28 GMT) after the small plane hit a parked red car, while its owner was in a shop.
Bystanders told journalists they saw the plane falling nose-first.
“It was so heartbreaking just seeing the plane crumbled into pieces,” one witness told The Los Angeles Times.