Emergency Landing on Beach Has Tragic Outcome

It's every pilot's nightmare. During an emergency landing on a Hilton Head, South Carolina, beach, an amateur-built Lancair IV-P struck and killed a pedestrian from behind as he walked the shoreline with headphones on, listening to music. Neither the pilot nor his passenger was injured, and the airplane ultimately came to rest in the surf. The Lancair first began to leak oil at 13,000 feet an hour and a half after takeoff on a flight from Orlando Executive Airport in Florida to Norfolk, Virginia. In contact with Marine controllers from Beaufort, South Carolina, the pilot initially tried to make it to Hilton Head Airport, but apparently the engine problem got much worse, with the propeller ultimately separating from the aircraft. The pilot reported that engine oil covered the windshield, and he never saw the beachcomber, a 38-year-old man from Georgia who was a guest at a Hilton Head resort adjacent to the beach. FAA records record the date of manufacture of the aircraft as 2009. Also according to FAA records, it was powered by a Continental 550-series engine, though some news accounts incorrectly reported it had a turbine engine (an option on the Lancair IV-P kit.)