At 1211:32, the center controller told the pilot to maintain 3,600 ft. until established on the approach and that he was cleared for the GPS approach to Runway 31.
The pilot acknowledged and read back the altitude. That was the last transmission received from the airplane. The controller then said, “and November zero echo alpha, when you . . . executed the back course [you] were just too high to . . . execute the . . . correction to . . . land.”
Later, radar data showed the airplane had been over the airport at 1208:48 at an altitude of 1,500 ft. MSL. (Airport elevation is 1,078 ft.) The data showed the airplane make a turn to the east and then southeast leveling off at 3,400 ft. MSL. The Baron then made a left 180-deg. turn back toward the west. At 1211:48, the airplane suddenly disappeared from radar.
Controllers tried to contact the airplane several times, but heard nothing.
Several people in the vicinity of the accident site reported hearing the airplane fly overhead. They all reported hearing the ground impact and seeing a fireball; however, none of the witnesses reported seeing the airplane crash.
The 1973 Model C Baron struck the ground in a down-sloping, fallowed cornfield, about 4 mi. northeast of the airport. The elevation at the accident scene was 1,012 ft. MSL. The accident site began with a 21-ft.-long, 8-ft.-wide and 5-ft.-deep impact crater that contained both engines, both propellers, one main landing gear and the nose landing gear. The debris field was about 370 ft. long by 100 ft. wide.
Both engines had broken free of their mounts and nacelles. The right propeller was separated from its engine and rested nearby. The three blades showed varying degrees of chordwise scratches and leading edge gougings. All three blades showed torsional bending. The left engine was also broken out from the nacelle. The left propeller was broken and found underneath the engine. Two of its blades showed torsional bending. One blade had broken out at the hub. Measured crushing on the engines, and wing and nacelle fragments were consistent with the airplane impacting the terrain in a 25-deg. nose-low, 40- to 45-deg. left-wing-low flight attitude.
The empennage section and fuselage aft of the baggage compartment were located 81 ft. north-northeast of the impact crater along the 030-deg. wreckage path. The fuselage was bent and broken. The vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizers and elevators were bent and broken. Flight control continuity to the rudder and elevators was confirmed. Beyond the fuselage to the end of the accident site was a debris field that contained the fragmented components of the airplane's cabin, wings and forward fuselage. Many of the fractured pieces were charred, melted and consumed by the post-impact fire. A large section of the right wing was located about 30 ft. beyond the empennage section. Also within this area were broken engine components, flight and engine instruments, and personal effects.
Examination of the airplane's engines revealed no abnormalities that would have prevented their normal operation and production of rated horsepower. The examination of the other airplane systems revealed no pre-impact anomalies.