On August 15, 2010, about 0950 eastern daylight time, a Beech C24R, N792Y, owned and operated by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during takeoff from Eastover Air Ranch Airport, Eastover, North Carolina. The certificated private pilot and a passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight destined to Elizabethtown, North Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot was attempting to takeoff from runway 22, a 3,000-foot-long, 300-foot-wide, turf runway.

According to the pilot, after accelerating to about 60 to 62 mph during the takeoff roll, the airplane's nose gear began to collapse and the propeller contacted the runway. He instinctively pulled back on the control yoke and the airplane became airborne. The pilot raised the gear-handle and lowered the nose in an attempt to gain airspeed. He then realized that the airplane was not going to be able to clear trees located off the end of the runway. He attempted to land on a road located about 60 degrees to the left of the runway; however, the airplane struck trees and impacted the ground, before coming to rest. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and its fuselage.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed a series of 28 ground scars, consistent with propeller strikes, approximately 1,440 feet beyond the beginning of the runway. The airplane came to rest on a road, about 1,900 feet south-southwest of the propeller strikes. The position of the wreckage precluded detailed examination of the landing gear. The airplane was recovered to a storage facility for further examination.

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number MC-643, was manufactured in 1979. It had been operated for about 15 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed on April 1, 2010.

According to the Hawker-Beechcraft Sierra 200, B24R, C24R Shop Manual, the retractable tricycle landing gear was controlled by a two-position switch located on the left side of the engine controls. The switch handle must be pulled out of the safety detent before it can be moved to the opposite position. A landing gear safety switch, located in the pitot system was designed to open the landing gear circuit to prevent inadvertent retraction of the gear at speeds below 68 to 72 mph.

Further examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector and a representative of Hawker-Beechcraft revealed the airplane's nose landing gear assembly was in the retracted and locked position. The nose gear drag brace, drag link, down lock spring, and torque shaft assemblies were intact. The left and right main landing gear assemblies were retracted but not in the locked position. Subsequent inspection of landing gear retraction system, which included testing the electrical retraction circuit and landing gear safety switch, did not reveal any anomalies.

According to FAA records, the pilot purchased the airplane during February 2004. He reported 625 hours of total flight experience, which included 555 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

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