Authorities received initial reports that the pilot had taken off from Carlisle, encountered an engine problem and was trying to return to the airport, DeFebo said.
The plane struck the rear of the tractor-trailer and then skidded along the right guide rail of the turnpike's eastbound lanes, state police said. Truck driver William Keith Price, 46, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., was not injured, police said.
The 54-year-old pilot asked authorities not to release his name, state police said.
The plane is registered to Michael Hannagan of Endicott, N.Y., a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.
Officials at Carlisle Regional Medical Center said a Michael Hannagan was in stable condition at the hospital Thursday afternoon.