Pilot Ken Brown, his wife, Becca, and their two dogs crashed into a grove of trees near Tram Road and Red Hill Road on a flight from Southbridge Municipal Airport in Massachusetts to Venice Municipal Airport in Florida.
Brown said there was no sign of trouble until the engine on the Cirrus SR22 quit in the sky over eastern North Carolina.
"About as boring as you can get, and then there was silence," Brown told ABC11's newsgathering partner WCTI. "The engine quit and beyond a couple of things to figure out why, there's nothing you can do other than find where you are going to end up."
Photos from the scene show the plane suspended in trees about five feet off the ground and the Browns and their dogs standing in a field in northern Duplin County.
Cirrus said it is the only aircraft manufacturer to offer a parachute system.
The parachute is deployed by the pilot and is fueled by a solid-fuel rocket.
The crash is then absorbed by specialized landing gear, a roll cage and energy-absorbing seats.
The FAA is investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.