Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, registered to, and operated by Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, N24442: Fatal accident occurred July 13, 2018 in Clayton, Stevens County, Washington

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
Moody Bible College of Chicago; Spokane, Washington
Textron Aviation (Cessna); Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Deer Park, WA
Accident Number: WPR18FA195
Date & Time: 07/13/2018, 1021 PDT
Registration: N24442
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On July 13, 2018, at 1021 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172R Skyhawk airplane, N24442, experienced an inflight breakup and collided into a field near Deer Park, Washington. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and two student pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 141. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed; the pilot was receiving flight following advisories. The local training flight originated from Felts Field Airport, Spokane, Washington about 0955.

The purpose of the flight was for the front-seated student pilot to undergo instruction. This was the first flight in his training program and the aft-seated student pilot was an observer. Following departure, the CFI communicated with the Spokane Terminal Radar Approach Control (GEG TRACON) and proceeded to the Clayton practice area located about 15 miles northwest of the airport. When another student and instructor were looking for the airplane to use for their scheduled flight, the operator noticed the airplane was late. About 1110 the operator attempted to communicate with the CFI on the radio and on his cell phone. Thereafter, the operator contacted the TRACON and eventually they confirmed that the airplane had gone missing from their radar about 1021.

A review of the preliminary track data indicated that after entering Clayton, at 1010 the airplane began a gradual 90° left-turn and continued in a southwestern direction. The airplane continued in a gradual climb to about 7,000 ft mean sea level (msl) and then made a 180° right turn. The flight track remained on a northeastern heading until about 1018, at which point the airplane made another 180° turn to the heading of 208°. The airplane proceeded about 2.5 miles varying in altitude between from about 7,000 to 7,450 ft msl. At 1020:53 the track data indicated the airplane at an altitude of 7,000 ft msl and an estimated ground speed of 77 knots. From that point, the track made a sharp 90° right-turn and continued on a 305° heading for about 3,020 ft over a duration of about 20 seconds. The track then made another sharp 90° right-turn and after about 880 ft and the last recorded track data at 1021:18 indicated an estimated ground speed of 117 knots. The accident site was located about 740 ft southwest of the last recorded track data.

Witnesses reported that the airplane was in a steep dive toward terrain and then they subsequently observed the wings departing the airplane at the same time.

The accident site was located in a grass field in the rural farm land of Deer Park about 20 nautical miles northwest of Felts Field. In character, the open fields are surrounded by densely populated tree stands. The elevation of the main wreckage was 2,265 ft msl.

The wreckage was distributed over a 400 ft distance on a median magnetic bearing of about 030°. The outboard sections of both the right and left wing were located at the beginning of the debris field about 330 and 190 ft from the main wreckage, respectively (see below Figure 1). The debris between the outboard wing sections and the main wreckage consisted of left wing pieces. All control surfaces and their associated mass balance weights were accounted for in the debris field.

Figure 1: Accident Debris Field

The wreckage was recovered for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N24442
Model/Series: 172 R
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Moody Bible Institute Of Chicago
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSFF, 1953 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Spokane, WA (SFF)
Destination: Spokane, WA (SFF)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 47.941111, -117.626389

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

On Friday, July 13, 2018, Diego Senn, loving husband and father of four small children, died in a single engine plane accident in Spokane, Washington. He was 30 years old. 

All those that know and love him grieve deeply at his passing and yet celebrate the amazing life he lived and rejoice in the knowledge of his new and perfect body now home with the Lord.

Diego was born on September 29, 1987 in Aarau, Switzerland to Rodolfo and Beatrice Senn, and later became older brother to one brother and two sisters. Diego spent an incredibly rich and joyful childhood in the Amazon jungle where his parents served as missionaries in a small indigenous village. Diego attended Daniel Harden Memorial elementary school and graduated from Puraquequara High with a 4.0.

After high school, he moved to the United States and attended New Tribes Bible Institute in Waukesha, WI and then in 2008 attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Moody Suma Cum Laude with a bachelors in Biblical studies and met the love of his life while in school there.

Diego and Naomi were married on June 5, 2010 in Naomi's home town of Fowlerville, MI. They had their first child on February 23, 2012 and shortly after, moved to Spokane, WA where Diego attended Moody Aviation and got his commercial pilot's license. Diego and Naomi welcomed their premature miracle twins on March 8, 2016. The young couple dreamed of heading overseas to serve as a missionary pilot family but because of their twins' fragile health decided to stay in the U.S. until the twins were stronger. During this time, Diego served on the Moody Aviation team and eventually became one of Moody's most proficient and beloved flight instructors.

Diego is remembered for his tireless dedication to what was most important in his life: his Lord and Savior, his family, his flying, and training missionary pilots. People gravitated to him. He told the most amazing stories, embellished to the point of hilarity. He was a loyal friend and his laugh and smile lit up every room he walked into. Diego was a man of integrity, humility, and faithfulness. He spoke kindly of others and genuinely cared for them.

Diego was an unreserved family man. He would plan special surprises and adventures for them and nothing made him happier than simply spending time with them. He loved his wife and little ones with his whole heart. He protected them and led them faithfully.

Diego was passionate about his calling as a missionary pilot and poured into many students' lives not only as an instructor, but also as a mentor, encourager, and friend. His greatest desire was that others would know Jesus as he did. His life was so full, and he would want it clarified that it wasn't because of any personal achievements, but because he believed and glorified the One who came to give fullness of life. Diego served his Savior to his last breath. He was given only 30 years to live. That seems like such a terribly short and unfair length of time, yet the years are disproportionate to the number of lives he touched. His life AND his death have impacted and continue to impact thousands. His life AND his death are a vibrant testimony to the love and faithfulness of Christ. 

Some of Diego's favorite verses were Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV), “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Diego ran his race. He ran it so very well. He is now a part of that great cloud of witnesses, praising His Savior.

Diego is survived by his wife Naomi, his four children, Lionel, Malachi, Ellanie, and a baby girl due in December, his parents Rodolfo and Beatrice Senn, his brother Rafael (Kelsey) Senn, his sisters Angelica (Jeffrey) Roszhart and Fatima Dos Santos, three nephews, his grandparents Juan and Marion Senn and Alfred and Kathi Schwarz, and literally hundreds of other family members and close friends. 

It is with profound sadness that his family grieves his death. It is with firm hope that his family celebrates his new life in eternity.

For all those who would like to say their goodbyes to Diego and celebrate his life with us, Diego's memorial service will be held at Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane on Friday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m.

Another memorial service will be held at Community Bible Church in Brighton, Michigan on Friday, July 27. Please join us in celebrating the life of this faithful and beloved disciple and son of God.

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14 (NIV)

Original article can be found here ➤

From Left to Right: Andrew Trouten, JC Austen Lee, and Diego Senn.

Diego Senn, left, a flight instructor for Moody Aviation, died Friday morning in a plane crash near Deer Park.

Update: The Stevens County Coroner has identified all three people involved in a deadly plane crash near Deer Park last week. The two students killed in the crash were identified as 30-year-old Andrew Trouten and 24-year-old Joo Chan Lee. The flight instructor was identified as 30-year-old Diego Senn.

Two men, each of whom had a wife expecting a child,were among the three people who died Friday morning in a plane crash near Deer Park, according to online fundraisers set up by friends and relatives.

Diego Senn was a flight instructor for Moody Aviation, which trains missionary pilots, and Joochan “JC” Austen Lee was a student, according messages on

Senn became a flight instructor for Moody just this month, according to his faculty page on the school’s website. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from Moody.

The identity of the other student aboard the plane was not immediately available. Stevens County Coroner Lorrie Sampson said the crash victims would be formally identified on Tuesday.

The single-engine Cessna 172 went down around 10 a.m. Friday in a field near 5047 Bittrich-Antler Road. The cause and circumstances of the crash remain unclear.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators had surveyed the wreckage and were seeking to interview witnesses. The agency typically issues preliminary incident reports within three to seven days.

Moody Aviation is an affiliate of the Moody Bible Institute, a Christian evangelical college based in Chicago that recently closed its Spokane branch due to declining enrollment. The flight school is based at Felts Field but often uses Deer Park Airport for training because it has long runways and no radio tower for students to worry about.

Darold Schultz, the manager of Deer Park Airport, said Monday he also was aboard an instructional flight when the Moody plane went down. He said he wasn’t sure if the plane had taken off from Deer Park.

Larry Krauter, the chief executive of Felts Field and the Spokane International Airport, said he could not confirm the origin of the plane and referred questions to the FAA.

A Moody spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking information Monday, but in a statement the organization said it’s cooperating with the NTSB investigation.

The GoFundMe page for Senn says relatives are raising money to travel from South America to Spokane to be with his wife, Naomi, and the couple’s three young children. The page says she is expecting a fourth child in December. As of Monday afternoon, it had raised nearly $18,000 toward a $25,000 goal.

The page for Lee says he and his wife, Yuki, were expecting their first child early next year. As of Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $4,000 toward a $10,000 goal.

“Austen, two years I spent with you were the best days of my life. And I can’t believe you are gone,” his wife wrote in a message on the GoFundMe page.

“I love you and I miss you. I probably won’t stop crying for years thinking about you. But I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the love, sacrifice, laugh, dreams and the memories you’ve given me. You have completely changed me, and I’m so so grateful for that. I will see you soon and we will be together again in the presence of God.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Senn Family

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - The Stevens County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the names of the three people killed in a plane crash Friday, but online posts from family and friends are painting a devastating picture of the lives lost.

GoFundMe pages have been set up and made public for the families of Diego Senn and Joochan Austen Lee. Senn is described as an instructor for Moody Aviation and Lee as a student. The third victim has not been named online. 

Moody Aviation, an organization dedicated to training students to become missionary pilots and mechanics, confirmed the loss of three of its members in the crash Friday. Moody Aviation has not yet shared the names of the victims, but friends and alumni of the program are remembering Senn and Lee.

On the fundraising pages and social media posts, both men are remembered for their faith and dedication to their families. 

Friends of Senn say he leaves “a legacy of faithfulness.” A fundraising page say he is survived by his three children and pregnant wife.

Family calls Lee “a faithful servant of God” and “the best brother-in-law that one can have.” One of the fundraising pages says Lee was just about to start a family of his own with his wife, who is expecting their first child.

Lee’s family says they’re praying for “peace, comfort and restoration to all who are deeply grieving.”

The men have family from all over the world trying to get to Spokane for their funerals and to support their families. At the time of this writing, the pages raised a combined total of more than $50,000.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still searching for answers and witnesses surrounding the fatal crash. Fabian Salazar, an air safety investigator, told KXLY4 the National Transportation Safety Board will bring the remains of the plane to a wreckage facility in Seattle to examine it more closely.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a preliminary report on the crash will be published in about two weeks. The Stevens County Coroner’s Office estimates the victims’ names will be released in the next week.

Story and video ➤


  1. Over three days since this accident and no names or photos have been released to the public by the media, Moody, Sheriff, or NTSB. Even the Coroner says it will take days to find out the identity of those who perished. Really?? Surely Moody knows who was on that airplane when it departed Spokane and didn't return. No one has been allowed onto the private property where the wreckage was found. Something seems very fishy and unusual.

  2. ^^ I ask for your patience as the investigation is just getting underway and is being handled by the National Transportation Safety Board. At this stage, Moody Aviation does not have access to information. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation process typically takes time, and we are cooperating as requested with both the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration. Neither the sheriff nor the coroner have confirmed the identities of those involved in the accident.

    As a community who loves the Lord and is founded upon His Word, let us continue to seek His face and remember His promises during this deeply challenging time. With the psalmist in Psalm 145 we bless the name of our gracious and merciful God and King and declare His greatness. He is worthy of praise. We are also reminded in this Psalm that He is near to those who call on Him. We stand upon these and other precious truths today.

    May God be gracious to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting during this hour and that they would find comfort and peace through His Word and the presence of His people ministering to them.

    Thank you for the outpouring of love and support to our Moody Aviation community. Our hearts continue to grieve with them, especially the families and loved ones of those who went to be with the Lord on Friday.

    We will update you as further details are provided to us.
    Moody Bible Institute

  3. This link partially explains the silence of the Coroner and Sheriff's Department regarding this terrible accident.

    This really instills confidence in our Sheriff.

  4. May God's grace and peace hold the families close during this trying time, and may His promises through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ bring hope of a glorious reunion.

    One of the greatest tributes that a pilot can give to a deceased pilot is to learn from their possible mistakes and why they crashed. Here's to you my fellow aviators - blues and tailwinds as you head west into the Presence of the Lord.

  5. This is as painful as it gets.