Preliminary Report: Takeoff crash kills MU-2 pilot

 - September 14, 2006, 5:18 AM

Mitsubishi MU-2, Fort Pierce, Fla., June 25, 2006–The pilot of MU-2 N316PR was killed when the airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Saint Lucie County Airport (FPR) in Fort Pierce in VMC. The ferry flight was on an IFR flight plan to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to have scheduled 100-hour maintenance performed. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot had flown passengers to the Bahamas and returned to the U.S. alone, stopping at FPR to clear customs and refuel.

A witness told investigators that the airplane appeared to be “in trouble.” It was in a nose-up attitude, pointing east. He saw the nose yaw to the right, pointing south in a wings-level position. The airplane continued to spin clockwise in a level attitude until it struck the ground and burst into flames.

In an apparently differing account, another witness saw the airplane make a slight right turn, then it slowly wobbled, and the nose pitched up a little bit. The MU-2 then made a knife-edge right hand turn and proceeded to descend straight down, nose first. He said the airplane then disappeared from sight. According to the witness, the engines did not appear to be feathered, and both propellers were rotating. The MU-2 was registered to Flying Cloud of North Myrtle Beach, S.C.