Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Rans S-7 Courier, N55893: Fatal accident occurred October 06, 2020 and Incident occurred July 07, 2020

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Location: Spirit Lake, ID 
Accident Number: WPR21LA011
Date & Time: October 6, 2020, 15:33 Local 
Registration: N55893
Aircraft: RANS S-7 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 06, 2020 at 1533 Pacific daylight time, a Rans S-7 Courier amphibian airplane, N55893, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Spirit Lake, Idaho. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot and pilot-rated passenger had flown from Ponderay Lake earlier in the day and landed at Treeport Airport to see an acquaintance. The passenger stated that they intended to fly to Timber Basin Airpark, Sagle, Idaho where the pilot was based. The pilot elected to depart runway 07 and during the initial takeoff the airplane stayed in ground-effect. The passenger thought the pilot was going to land and taxi back, but then the pilot pulled aft on the control stick. The airplane climbed above the trees at the end of the runway (about 40 ft tall) and at about 50 ft above ground level (agl), the airplane’s left wing stalled. The airplane impacted the ground nearly inverted.

The acquaintance’s son captured a video of the takeoff on his cell phone and witnessed the accident. A review of the video revealed that as the airplane departed runway 07 it became airborne about 1,100 ft down the grass runway (see Figure 1). As the departure continued, the wings rocked as it slowly ascended and then it temporarily climbed above the tree line (see Figure 2). The airplane turned left (to the north) and then descended below the tree line. The airplane came to rest about 900 ft north of the runway centerline (see Figure 3). 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: RANS 
Registration: N55893
Model/Series: S-7 NO SERIES 
Aircraft Category: Unknown
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCOE 
Observation Time: 16:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: -1 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Spirit Lake, ID (ID22)
Destination: Sagle, ID (ID24)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 47.980217,-116.78632

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   

Michael Dennis Mills
March 11, 1950 - October 09, 2020

Michael Dennis Mills left us on Friday, October 9th after a tragic airplane accident in Spirit Lake, Idaho. He was doing what he loved best in his newest float plane. 

A happy and passionate soul who lived life full and fast. Mike had a way of packing many things into any one day and therefore into a lifetime most could only imagine. An experience-oriented guy who took many people on adventures of their lifetime. It could have been a group of friends on a ski trip in British Columbia, a salmon and halibut fishing expedition for charter clients in southeast Alaska, or sharing funny stories with his family and grandchildren on a beach in Hawaii or around a campfire after a day of activities. Mike always found time to share his passion for life with anyone able to keep up. 

Mike gained credibility with people in his presence by sharing his knowledge, showing them how to do things or get places, helping them achieve a goal, and giving assistance when he found room to offer a helping hand, all this while sharing a humorous story or two along the way.

He was born in Denver, Colorado to his late parents Bob and Irene Mills. Early adult life in mountain towns of Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and Silver Plume Colorado is where he found a passion for fishing, hunting, skiing and where he also developed his love of the outdoors.  After high school Mike went to Orange Coast College in Newport Beach, California in 1970-71 where he participated on the Crew Team and made more lifelong friends. He also made his first of what would become many expeditions to the islands of Hawaii. 

From California, Mike developed a yearning to get to southeast Alaska where he wanted to fish for salmon.  Out of necessity, Alaska is where Mike honed many of his outdoor skills including piloting his airplanes, commercial fishing, and running boat charters for guests. It is also where he sharpened his aptitude of garnering many lifelong friends which included fellow fishermen, pilots, locals, and his fishing guests.  Gustavus is where he met and is survived by his former wife Connie and their daughter Kelly Mills who now resides in southern California with her children Cannon & Andreas Altamirano and Bristol Williams.  

Mike and his wife Caroline made the north shore of Kauai their seasonal home in the off season from the Alaska summers. They loved long walks on the beach, snorkeling, and spending time with family, especially his stepchildren-Shandy & Keaton Mitchell along with their kids Mackenzie & Wyatt Mitchell. Caroline’s son and Mike’s stepson Jody Simpson and his wife Kristen Foster live in Kauai with their children Kohana & Kaikou Simpson. 

In addition to his wife Caroline, Mike leaves brothers Bob Mills from Niantic, Connecticut, Dan Mills & his wife Gail from Sagle, Idaho. 

The family will be arranging a celebration of Mike’s life in the spring or summer of 2021.Stay tuned for more information.  In order help to make their memories known to Caroline and others, friends will be asked to do so on Invitations will be going out to those for whom we have contact information, but all will be welcome.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greater Chicago, Illinois

July 07, 2020:  Aircraft experienced hydraulic problem and diverted to Ogle County Airport (C55) and landed with gear partially retracted.

Date: 07-JUL-20
Time: 18:15:00Z
Regis#: N55893
Aircraft Make: RANS
Aircraft Model: S7
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91


  1. That man is was my Dad and I miss him every day. I had never seen this report before. It’s so hard to see the crumpled airplane. My dad was a great pilot. This is just such a sad sad accident. I love you Dad. 💔