On July 15, 1998, at 0315 Greenwich Mean Time, a homebuilt Lancair 4P, N88PP, was reported missing over the Atlantic Ocean, and presumed destroyed. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were suspected fatal. The airplane departed Horta, Azores, destination for St John's, Newfoundland, on July 14, 1998, at 0045. The pilot filed an International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) instrument flight rules flight plan, and the ferry flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was built in Jacksonville, Florida, and completed in May 1997. In November 1997, the owner, who lived in Switzerland, contracted a professional pilot from the United States to ferry the airplane to Switzerland. After several months in Europe, the owner made a decision to sell the airplane in the United States. He then contracted the same pilot who ferried the airplane to Switzerland, to ferry it back to the United States, with the intention of selling it in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Prior to departing Horta, Azores, the pilot filed an ICAO flight plan, on which he wrote 8 hours 30 minutes for fuel endurance, and 6 hours for the estimated time en route. On July 15, 1998, at 0045, the pilot made a position report of 44 degrees 50 minutes north latitude, by 43 degrees 05 minutes west longitude. This was the last communication received from N88PP.

On July 15, 1998, when N88PP was over due, the St John's flight service station initiated overdue aircraft procedures. Additionally, the Canadian Government began a search for the airplane from its last reported position, which was approximately 500 miles southeast of St John's.

As of July 20, 1998, the Canadian Government had not found any signs of N88PP, and planned to terminate the search on July 21, 1998.

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