Date & Time: Mar 4, 2017 at 0010 LT
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On March 4, 2017, about 0023 eastern standard time, a Cessna 421B, N421KL, was substantially damaged during an attempted go-around and subsequent collision with terrain at Cherokee County Airport (CNI), Canton, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and was being operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight. The flight originated about 1930 on March 3, 2017, from Richard Lloyd Jones Jr Airport (RVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was destined for CNI. According to personnel at an aviation brokerage company in Oklahoma, the pilot purchased the airplane on March 2, 2017. A flight instructor reported that he and the pilot flew the airplane on March 1, 2017, for 1.5 hours to go over the various systems of the Cessna 421B. On March 2, 2017, the flight instructor flew with the pilot again for 45 minutes conducting pattern work. The flight instructor said that the pilot told him that he had previously owned two Cessna 421Cs, was a little "rusty," and had not flown that type of airplane since 1984. The instructor reported that, overall, the pilot was knowledgeable of the operation of airplane. He also reported that the pilot departed with enough fuel for the cross-country flight. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the flight instructor signed off a flight review on March 3, 2017. Radar and audio data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot was in contact with air traffic control and receiving visual flight rules (VFR) flight following services while inbound to CNI. The pilot cancelled flight following when he had the airport in sight. Radar data continued to show the airplane on approach to CNI until 2,500 ft when the airplane descended below radar coverage. A review of airport video surveillance footage revealed that the runway lights were illuminated during the airplane's approach to runway 05. The airplane's landing lights became visible as the airplane neared the runway. On short final, the airplane pitched up and rolled to the right. The airplane then descended in a nose-down attitude into a ravine on the right side of the runway. The video footage stopped for a second, and then a fire was seen in the ravine. Witnesses observed the airplane flying extremely low before noticing a "ball of fire" erupt near the airport.