August 11, 2010, Burns, Ore., Aero Commander 500B


At about 0855 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain and sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and his passenger were killed. The VFR flight took place in a area where thunderstorms, lightning and rain were reported. The pilot was receiving radar flight following from ATC.

According to witnesses in the area, the airplane could be heard overhead, but could not be seen because of a solid overcast and rain. The witnesses reported the airplane sounded normal at first, but then the sounds became similar to those they had heard from an “airplane doing aerobatics.” Soon thereafter, the airplane was seen descending steeply out of the clouds with about one-third of its left wing missing. The separated portion of the left wing was located about one-half mile from the rest of the wreckage.


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