Three Britons and a South African were aboard the UK-registered DA42 plane, UAE authorities said.
The four-seat plane flies around the world to inspect and calibrate navigation aids – which include radars and landing systems for airports and airfields.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) says an investigation is under way.
According to local media reports, the plane came down at approximately 19:30 local time, killing a pilot, a co-pilot and two passengers.
Flights to/from Dubai DXB were delayed and diverted as the airport – one of the world’s busiest, based on international passenger traffic – was closed for 45 minutes.