The private pilot was conducting a personal cross-country flight and had filed an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was en route to the destination airport, and the pilot was in radar and radio contact with air traffic control (ATC) personnel. While the airplane was in cruise flight at 5,000 feet mean sea level, the pilot checked in with an air traffic controller who alerted the pilot of “moderate to extreme precipitation” 50 miles ahead and about 30 miles in diameter. The pilot acknowledged the information and stated that he would maintain communications with ATC and that he had “a scope onboard.” About 30 minutes later, the pilot reported to the controller that he was in the middle of the precipitation and was not experiencing any bumps. He also stated that his weather scope was showing some returns right of his position. About one minute later, radar contact with the airplane was lost, and despite multiple attempts, the controller was unable to make radio contact with the pilot. One witness reported that the airplane emerged from the clouds and that one wing had separated from the airplane before impact. Another witness reported observing the airplane above the tree line with pieces of the airplane falling toward the ground as the airplane spun and descended until impact.