The plane crashed into a grove of trees about 1 p.m. Sunday in Winston-Salem after departing from North Wilkesboro, the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal reported.
The pilot and one passenger were killed in the crash. Their names were not released.
The plane was registered to Dennis O'Neal of Blounts Creek, N.C., records show.
Shortly before the crash, the pilot declared an emergency due to engine trouble, the Federal Aviation Administration said
Winston-Salem Police Department Lt. Rick Newnum said the pilot managed to avoid houses before crashing in a wooded area.