The official report from the National Transportation Safety Board is as follows:
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On August 26, 2012, about 1118 eastern daylight time, a Hawker-Beechcraft Corporation B24R Sierra, N9200S, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees and terrain during a forced landing after a reported loss of engine power near, Dayton, Virginia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that originated from Wilmington International Airport (ILM), Wilmington, North Carolina. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that at 1109, the pilot contacted air traffic control, and advised that he was climbing the airplane from 9,000 to 10,500 feet. At 1111, the pilot declared an emergency and advised he had “lost” the engine. The controller provided vectors to Bridgewater Airpark (VBW), Bridgewater, Virginia, but the pilot advised that the airplane was unable to clear a ridgeline in his path. At 1117, radar and voice communication with the airplane was lost. At that time, the airplane was 8 nautical miles from VBW.
The pilot/owner held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on November 2, 2010, and he reported 600 total hours of flight experience on that date. Examination of his logbook revealed the pilot had logged approximately 235 total hours of flight experience, of which 206 hours were in the accident airplane. The pilot did not posses an instrument rating.
At 1115, the weather conditions reported at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD), 15 miles southeast of the accident site at 1,201 feet elevation, included scattered clouds at 1,800 feet, a broken ceiling at 3,300 feet, and an overcast ceiling at 4,000 feet. There was 10 miles visibility; the temperature was 22 degrees C, dewpoint 18 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury. The wind was from 100 degrees at 4 knots.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on August 26, 2012, at 1,869 feet elevation, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. There was no odor of fuel or evidence of fuel spillage. Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces.
The fuel tanks were intact, and about one pint of fuel was drained from the left tank while 10 gallons was drained from the right. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. Continuity of the entire fuel system was confirmed. The gascolator was removed and disassembled. It contained no fuel, was completely dry, and was absent of debris. The fuel boost pump switch was destroyed in the instrument panel, and the boost pump was destroyed by impact.
The engine was recovered from the scene and examined at SHD on August 28, 2012. The engine was rotated by hand and continuity, compression, and ignition spark were all confirmed.