Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mooney M20J 201, N56039: Fatal accident occurred August 02, 2018 near Lopez Island Airport (S31), Lopez, San Juan County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;Federal Aviation Administration; Des Moines, Washington
Mooney International Corp; Kerrville, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lopez Island, WA
Accident Number: WPR18FA210
Date & Time: 08/02/2018, 1705 PDT
Registration: N56039
Aircraft: Mooney M20J
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 2, 2018, about 1705 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N56039, impacted terrain during an approach to land at Lopez Island Airport (S31), Lopez Island, Washington. The pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the local flight that departed Friday Harbor Airport (FHR), Friday Harbor, Washington about 1500.

According to the flight instructor's wife, the instructor was scheduled to perform a flight review of the accident pilot at 1400, but the flight was delayed until 1500.

According to an eyewitness, after his departure from runway 16 at FHR he began a climb. Approximately 1.2 nm south of the airport he heard another pilot announce over the radio that he was on an extended left base for runway 14 at S31, but sounded unsure or distracted. The eyewitness made a left turn to an eastern course and then observed an airplane about 300 ft and about 0.5 nm north of S31 that appeared to be initiating a base turn to the final approach leg of runway 16 at S31. The airplane's left turn progressed into a 45° bank that continued to increase until the airplane entered a nose down dive and about one complete revolution on its roll axis before the airplane disappeared from the eyewitness' line of sight.

Please refer to the wreckage diagram below for an illustration of the debris path. The airplane came to rest in wooded area about 400 ft from the western shore of Lopez Island. An initial impact point (IIP) was identified by an airframe fragment in the canopy of a tall tree. A tree scar that measured about 5 ft in diameter was observed about midspan (vertically) up a 100 foot tall brown tree with yellow moss. The main wreckage, which was comprised of the empennage, left wing, right wing root, fuselage and engine, was located a few feet forward of the scarred tree and oriented on a magnetic heading of 180°, but marked the end of the debris path. The orientation between the IIP and main wreckage was 126° magnetic and the distance between the two points was about 60 ft. The right wing had separated at the wing root and was found in the debris path a few feet to the right of the main wreckage, also near the scarred tree. The inboard top skin of the right wing displayed brown and yellow transfer signatures. Both propeller blades remained attached to the engine, which remained attached to the airplane.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N56039
Model/Series: M20J No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: S19, 121 ft msl
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 220°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4300 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Friday Harbor, WA (FHR)
Destination: Friday Harbor, WA (FHR)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  48.491389, -122.942222 (est)

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

Louis Allan Coleman
June 15, 1950 - August 02, 2018

Lou, 68, of San Juan Island-Washington and formerly of Portland-Oregon, was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 15, 1950, the son of Elizabeth and Louis Coleman, Sr., and brother to Elizabeth who was named after their mom. As a military family, they were on the move and eventually settled in Portland, Oregon. Lou’s father was stationed with the Air Force in Osan, South Korea after the war but later died due to illness in 1957. At the age of seven, Lou became the sole-surviving son of a serviceman and was held back from the draft in Vietnam. He played trumpet in a drum and bugle corps, often traveling around the Pacific Northwest to play with his school. He married Julia in 1981. The couple has four children: Matthew (40), Mark (37), Kjirsten (33), and Mitchell (22).

Lou always had a passion for aviation but was deterred from following his dreams because of the fate of his father, an Air Force Captain. In 2003, shortly following the passing of his mother, Lou began training to become a private pilot in Hillsboro, Oregon. After purchasing the Piper Pacer in 2006 and receiving his certification as a flight instructor in 2012, he began to set into motion a long-standing dream to open a flight school in Friday Harbor.

In 2013, Lou and Julia purchased a home on San Juan Island, sold their Portland home of 27 years and moved to the islands. Lou purchased the 1929 Waco bi-plane, and together with the 1951 Piper Pacer, Aero-classic Aviation was open for business in 2015, a testament to his mantra, “Always go for it”. Lou was a humble man, most knew him both as a patient and inspiring flight instructor and as vice president of the Pilot’s Association. He touched many lives as a teacher and through his bi-plane rides of the islands.

It was always Lou’s dream to have his family here in the islands together. He is survived by his wife, four children and two granddaughters. Sadly, his sister Elizabeth passed just three months prior to his tragic accident.

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes, WA. To share a memory of Lou, please sign the online guestbook at

David Valentine King 
May 21, 1942 – August 03, 2018

August 3, 2018, Roche Harbor, Washington. David King, a long-time resident of San Juan Island, died yesterday in a plane crash near the Lopez Island Airport. There were two highly-experienced pilots on board the single-engine plane, but no survivors. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, but San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, who also acts as the County Coroner, told the family this morning that the crash appeared to be accidental.

David King was born May 2, 1942, in Los Angeles, and was raised in Laguna Beach, California. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York, in 1964. He worked as an engineer for a variety of companies, including TRW, Applied Technologies, and Northrup Grumman, where he retired in 2007. His specialty was electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum technologies.

On a driving trip across Canada in 1964, he heard about the San Juan Islands, and took a ferry to visit. He visited almost every year until 2007, when he retired to live full-time on San Juan Island, first in Friday Harbor, then on Davison Head, north of Roche Harbor.

From 2007 until 2010, he worked on the Orca Hydrophone Project, which allows visitors to Lime Kiln State Park to hear sea life while still on-shore. David designed the software for the project, but also helped pour concrete and set up the equipment to hear the whales.

David was almost painfully shy and quiet, but once he was comfortable, he displayed a warm humor, quick wit, and an easy laugh. He was very active in leading local organizations, including being the President of Bay Area Chapter of the “Old Crows,” an organization of electronic warfare veterans, the Treasurer of the San Juan Pilots Association, the San Juan Yacht Club, and the Roche Harbor Neighborhood Association, a civic charity on the northern end of San Juan Island. He was an avid photographer, and an active member of the Friday Walkers hiking group on San Juan Island. He earned an “extra” amateur radio (ham radio) certificate and was active in the local ham radio organization. He was recently learning to make his own gourmet pizzas.

He learned to fly in 1964 and became instrument rated in 1970. His plane, which crashed on Lopez Island, was a Mooney M20J. He and his cousin Martha Ford once flew from Los Angeles to Goose Bay, Labrador, and he and his wife Helen often flew around the United States.

He is survived by his wife Helen King, his cousin Martha Ford of Carlsbad, California, and her sons David, Tim, and Keith Ford, and several other family members.

A Celebration of Life is being scheduled for September in Friday Harbor. The King family wishes to thank the emergency responders and volunteers from Lopez Island and the San Juan Sheriff’s Office for their help.

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes & the San Juan.  To share a memory of David, please sign the online guestbook.

Lou Coleman

At approximately 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 2, a pilot reported seeing an aircraft go down somewhere on the south end of Lopez Island near the airport. San Juan County Sheriff’s deputies, along with Lopez Island Fire and Rescue, mobilized to search for the plane and incorporated the help of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Island Air. At approximately 6:40 p.m. the plane was located. The two pilots on board died in the crash. They were both San Juan Island residents.

One of the deceased has been identified as David King, a long-time resident of San Juan Island. San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, who also acts as the county coroner, told the family the crash appeared to be accidental.

At this time the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating into the cause of the crash.

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