At about 09:40 EDT, a Cessna 172N struck mountains near Dyke, killing the pilot and three passengers. The airplane was rented from a flight school in Newport News. The dispatcher stated she first saw the pilot about 08:00 on the day of the accident. The pilot said he was going to fly to Charlottesville, Va., and logged the airplane out accordingly, with a return time of 17:00. As the pilot was preflighting the airplane, it began to rain and he departed without finishing signing out the airplane. The weather deteriorated and the flight school began a telephone search for the airplane around 12:30. The wreckage was found by ground search teams on the morning of August 27. A forest ranger situated less than two miles from the accident site at the time of the crash described the weather conditions during that time period as low-lying cloud cover with limited visibility, intermittent periods of heavy rain, and light winds. The pilot had received his private certificate three weeks earlier.