The airplane was destroyed at about 1620 Eastern time when it impacted the ground shortly after takeoff. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the local test fight.
The airplane had undergone engine ground checks during the four days prior to the accident. Shortly after takeoff, witnesses observed the airplane make a steep right turn back toward the airport. The pilot transmitted that he was experiencing an “emergency.” The airplane turned to the right, and “began to shake as if it was near stall speed.” The airplane then appeared to stall, roll to the right about 90 degrees, and descend straight down toward the ground.
Internal damage to both engines was consistent with rotation somewhere between the low to mid-range power setting, with more pronounced damage observed to the left engine. The three-blade right propeller assembly did not display any significant evidence of twisting or rotational damage, while the left propeller assembly did. Initial review of the airplane’s maintenance logbooks revealed it had been operated for about 135 hours during the previous five years, and 20 hours since its most recent phase inspections, which were performed on January 31, 2012.