Crash of a Stinson V-77 Reliant in Auburn: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jan 24, 2020 at 1000 LT
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Auburn - Auburn
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On January 24, 2020, about 1000 Pacific standard time, a Stinson Vultee V-77 airplane, N50249, was destroyed when it collided with terrain about 3/4-mile northeast of Auburn Municipal Airport (AUN), Auburn, California. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured, and the private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane departed AUN about 0945. Several witnesses reported that they heard the airplane's engine "backfiring" and "stuttering" and subsequently heard the engine quit. Additionally, a witness at the airport, who was monitoring the airport's Unicom frequency, stated that he heard the pilot of the accident airplane make a distress call reporting that he had lost his engine and shortly thereafter heard the pilot radio that he was going down in the trees. Examination of the wreckage by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-incharge revealed that the airplane struck tall trees and subsequently came to rest in rocky wooded terrain, located near the top of a hill. All major components of the airplane necessary for flight were located at the accident site. The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.