Friday, November 13, 2020

Cessna 177B Cardinal, N34633: Fatal accident occurred November 11, 2020 near Whidbey Airpark (W10), Langley, Island County, Washington

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.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Location: Langley, WA
Accident Number: WPR21FA045
Date & Time: November 11, 2020, 11:44 Local
Registration: N34633
Aircraft: Cessna 177 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:

On November 11, 2020, at 1144 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 177B airplane, N34633, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Whidbey Air Park (W10), Langley, Washington. The private pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Radar data indicated that the airplane flew from Boeing field (BFI), Seattle, Washington, to Bellingham International Airport (BLI) Bellingham, Washington, earlier in the day. About 1110, the airplane departed BLI and flew south over Whidbey island. The airplane climbed to about 6,500 feet MSL for about 16 minutes when the airplane groundspeed decreased, and the airplane started to descend. Shortly thereafter the pilot reported to air traffic control that they were declaring an emergency, and the airplane’s transponder code changed to 7700. The pilot reported that the airplane was at full power, but it was in a slow descent and unable to hold altitude. The airplane continued southeast for about 2 miles when it made a left turn east and then southeast. The pilots radioed that engine power was intermittent and was at idle. The airplane continued to descend; it crossed over highway 525 then turned northeast toward W10. The airplane’s track made an abrupt right turn before turning north towards W10 in a descending “S” turn. The last radar point was over the runway at about 300 feet.

The airplane impacted the ground nose low amongst trees about 153 feet west of the runway surface.

The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N34633
Model/Series: 177 B 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
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: PAE,607 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 0°C /0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1500 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4400 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 3019 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bellingham, WA (BLI)
Destination: Seattle, WA (BFI)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 48.017512,-122.43772 (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

Joshua Michael McCormick
Edmonds, Washington
September 1, 1995 - November 11, 2020

Joshua Michael McCormick passed away November 11th, 2020 in a tragic plane crash. He was passionate about flying and left this world doing exactly what he loved. He is survived by his mother (Sarah), father (Scott), sister (Gwendolyne), Grandparents (Chuck & Jinnie McCormick and Don Troyer), and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Joshua was born September 1st, 1995 in Seattle, Washington. He attended North City Elementary, Chase Lake Elementary and then graduated 8th grade from Holy Rosary in Edmonds, WA. He attended Edmonds-Woodway for high school, and did running start at Edmonds Community College, graduating in 2014. Josh received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Western Washington University in 2018.

In the summer of 2014 Josh started training with Regal Air out of Paine field for his pilot’s license.  By the following summer, he flew his first solo flight and was hooked on flying. He attempted to keep up with learning to fly through college, but it wasn’t until after his college graduation that he devoted his time to becoming a licensed pilot thru the ATP program. Since then he has been working towards a commercial pilot license with a career aspiration to become a commercial pilot.

Josh was a friend to all. His fun-loving joy was infectious, and he will be missed greatly.

In accordance with the state Covid mandates we can welcome everyone to view the live feed of the services on Thursday, November 19th at 10:30am on the following Youtube channel:

In lieu of flowers, we are setting up a scholarship for aviators in Josh’s honor. If you are interested in contributing, please email and we will get back to you with details on how to donate.

Two people were killed when a Cessna 177B Cardinal airplane crashed at the Whidbey Airpark near Langley on November 11th, according to the FAA.

Sgt. Laura Price with the Island County Sheriff’s Office said the two occupants of the aircraft were able to contact the FAA prior to the crash and reported that the engine had lost power and the plane was going down.

At about 11:45 a.m., the FAA contacted Island County dispatchers and relayed that the pilot was trying to make it to the Langley airport.

Soon after, a witness reported that the plane had stalled over the Langley airfield and then crashed at the edge of the property. Specifically, the witness said that the airplane came from the west and flew over the runway, made a sharp turn and landed in the woods just at the edge of the airpark, the sheriff’s office reported.

Price said both the pilot and co-pilot died at the scene.

The pilot was Carl Dahlman of Seattle. He was 78 years old.

The co-pilot was Joshua McCormick of Edmonds. He was 25 years old.

Price said Dahlman had rented the aircraft from a flying club in Seattle. He was flying with the co-pilot to get an instrument rating when the accident occurred.

Officials from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene of the accident Thursday morning to investigate the cause.

An Edmonds man has died in plane crash on Whidbey Island, according to the Island County Sheriff's Office.

Joshua McCormick, 25, who graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School in 2014, was the copilot of a Cessna 177B Cardinal that crashed on November 11th, near the Langley airport. The pilot, 78-year-old Carl Dahlman of Seattle, also died.

According to McCormick's Facebook page, he graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham in 2018 and had studied at ATP Flight School.

The sheriff's office reported that about 11:45 a.m. it received a call from the FAA that the aircraft's pilot reported he'd lost an engine and was going down.

A witness saw a plane that was flying over the airfield that stalled before it crashed.

Deputies arrived on scene and located the Cessna down nose-first in the woods just west of the airfield at Whidbey Airpark on Crawford Road in Langley.

Witnesses say the plane came from the west and flew over the runway, made a sharp turn, and landed in the woods just at the edge of the airpark.

The FAA and the NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash.

The plane is registered to a flying club in the Seattle area.

Joshua McCormick

LANGLEY — Two men died in a small plane crash after an apparent engine failure around noon Wednesday, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities identified the deceased as Carl Dahlman, 78, of Seattle, and Joshua McCormick, 25, of Edmonds.

The Federal Aviation Administration listed Dahlman as a private pilot. McCormick was registered as a flight instructor with a commercial rating.

According to FlightAware, a database that tracks aircraft flights, the Cessna 177B Cardinal had traveled from Boeing Field in Seattle to Bellingham in the morning. After a few minutes, the plane took off again from Bellingham, at 11:10 a.m., apparently to return to Boeing Field.

Dahlman and McCormick encountered trouble somewhere along the way. They began descending a little after 11:30 a.m. from an altitude of 6,700 feet near Greenbank and lined up for a landing at Whidbey Airpark, according to FlightAware.

The pilots reported they “lost an engine” and were going down, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Witnesses saw a plane come over the airfield, make a sharp turn, stall and crash into the nearby woods. Deputies found the Cessna crashed nose-first just west of the airfield. Both Dahlman and McCormick died at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash. A preliminary report should be available within a couple of weeks. The full investigation could take more than a year to complete.

The plane is registered to a flying club in the Seattle area. It was built in 1973 and was certified to fly through 2023.

This is the second fatal crash in two years in the vicinity of the airfield. In January 2019, an Everett man was killed and a woman was seriously injured after crashing what was described as a two-seat experimental aircraft.

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington — Investigators are looking into what led a small plane to crash Wednesday on Whidbey Island, killing two men.

Shortly before noon, a Cessna 177B Cardinal crashed nose-first into a wooded area, just west of the airfield at Whidbey Airpark in Langley.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot had reported the plane had lost an engine and was going down.

Investigators said there were two people on the plane and they died at the scene.

The pilot was 78-year-old Carl Dahlman of Seattle. The co-pilot was Joshua McCormick of Edmonds. He was 25.

No structures were involved and there was no fire.

The plane is registered to a flying club in the Seattle area.

The FAA and the NTSB will continue their investigation.

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington – Two people are dead after a small plane crashed Wednesday on Whidbey Island southeast of Langley, officials with South Whidbey Fire say.

According to the FAA, the single-engine Cessna 177 Cardinal went down just west of the runway at the Whidbey Airpark just before 12pm. It hit the ground and ended up in a patch of woods nearby.

The FAA says preliminary reports are that two people were on board. The Island County Sheriff's Office says both occupants died in the crash.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

LANGLEY, Washington — Two people aboard a single-engine plane that crashed in Whidbey Island have died, according to the Island County Sheriff's Office.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a Cessna 177B Cardinal crashed one mile north of Whidbey Air Park in Langley just before noon on Wednesday. 

The plane belonged to a flying club in the Puget Sound area and crashed in the woods just off the runway at the Air Park, according to the sheriff's office. 

No one on the ground was injured.

It's unknown what caused the crash.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. 


  1. Sad - and likely avoidable. Pilots! Give yourself at *least* a chance and follow the late Bob Hoover's advice: fly the plane as far into the crash as possible. The chances of surviving hitting the ground vertically are pretty close to zero. (From a long-time glider pilot...)

    1. The airport they were trying to divert to has 60-100ft trees surrounding the entire runway. It looks like they overshot landing runway 34 and pulled up to avoid going head on into the trees and then stalled.

    2. head on just might have been the best option.
      :about the survival part. If your only option is to put it in the trees, it’s all about flying your aircraft all the way to a stop. Unless you have the misfortune of hitting a big tree straight on, your survival depends on maintaining positive control of your aircraft. I’ve been to many, many accident sites and fatalities usually result from loss of control. When approaching the trees, land into the wind and slow down to a controllable speed just above the stall for the softest impact. Obviously, make sure your seat belts and shoulder harnesses are as snug as possible and loose objects stowed before impact. Head and chest injuries are a leading cause of fatalities."

  2. in emergency landings!!
    "The most important thing when landing in trees (or any terrain) is to keep on flying the airplane! Maintain positive control all the way to impact, this will give you the best chance of survival.”

    1. @gretnabear. I was going to write basically the same comment but then saw yours. Why is this so hard to do ? Is the desire to keep the nose up in an engine out situation just too great to overcome ? Or get the plane turned around regardless of the bank angle ? However, I need to be careful, if I ever get in an engine out situation will I do the same thing ?

    2. read with comments.
      practice, practice, practice what you may only have to do once, we can all fly straight and level ...

    3. @gretnabear. I read the link, good stuff. Who better to learn engine out procedures than from a glider pilot ! Thanks

  3. I tend to look at this much like the recent LA crash where the pilot hit wires 50 yards short of the runway threshold and crashed into two cars. We all know the theory of landing in trees. And we know not to try and stretch a glide. But when you are in a wounded plane and your options are running short, the psychology of the human brain often fixates on the simplest reaction, be it pull back on the stick or fix your attention on the runway rather than wires and other things as your run out of energy trying to glide in. Training can help us overcome this byproduct of evolution but we have to be humble and say that for the grace of God, go I. We will never completely know how we will react until the moment of no options comes. We train and practice to keep that moment away and under control, yet even the best pilots among us to get off of their game - that's written in the accident reports we all read. And so many accident reports have someone saying "He or she was a careful, skilled, not taking risks pilot." Sometimes you just run out of options, airspeed and airspace and your brain's worst reactions take over. RIP. And we readers will learn the lessons of your last moments of life. In this case, gliding into a airport is nearly impossible to see from a distance and is surrounded by trees that eliminate a lot of options as you glide in from miles away. Best option at the time, but hindsight is unforgiving in its clarity.

    1. yet, if there is doubt now, we need to go back to the drawing board to devise plans, procedures and then execute repeatedly on land and the air what we'll do for each emergency !

  4. Wow.. Awesome comment above. So well said that I can’t stop reading it. Thank you for that- it’s perfect, it’s real and a 1000% true statement. I will copy this and read it before any departure checklist, perhaps before buckling up my shoulder harness.
    It’s real, sobering, well eloquently stated. If your a pilot I’d fly with you anywhere.
    It’s refreshing to see an honest real statement.

    Thank you whoever you are.

  5. When you have a dead engine and are trying to get to a preferred landing site, the urge to pull back increases proportionately as you get closer to the ground. I had to keep saying, out loud, don't pull, don't pull, don't pull, fly her in all the way into the crash the two times I've done it. It's really, really, really hard not to pull back. So, there but for the grace of all goodness go all of us. I got lucky. Godpseed.

  6. As I sit down to breakfast I say to myself " ok lets go over to KR and see who killed themselves this week" Why is this? there is so much information these days on how not to kill yourself but here you go! so what is this week 6 8 10 more fatalities ?

    1. Sadly, if there was a site like KR for automobile accidents, we could also read all day about how "careful, smart" drivers failed to head the multitude of information about how not to kill yourself driving an automobile and still did so. It's not just an issue with aviation, even though it's much easier to kill yourself in a plane.

  7. Practicing engine out exercises is a must do for any pilot. I fly a Bonanza weekly, and practice engine out scenarios every month. I’ll set a random timer, when it goes off I’m committed to land choosing the best option. Obviously I don’t complete the landing, generally climbing out at 1000 agl. The point is, I rehearse on a regular basis. My Io-550 is fairly new, but you never know when it’ll fail.

  8. interesting read @
    Back in the 50s and 60s "Aviation was much into myths at the time. Two of them were that twins were far safer than singles, plus, that any red-blooded American pilot would "step up to a twin" as soon as he could afford to do that. It was a natural progression from a beginning airplane to a high-performance single to a twin (and later to a turboprop and then a jet).

    The available information on accidents was sparse at that time and most opinions were formed based on what we saw and experienced around the local airport. Twins certainly seemed like they would be safer. The first tarnish that I saw on the reputation of the twin came in July 1958. I lost three friends when a Beech Travel Air flat spun to the ground on an FAA multiengine check ride. That accident was followed by many more like it, mainly in Travel Airs, Barons and Piper Twin Comanches.

    The cause of all these similar accidents related more to an insane FAA requirement (do minimum engine-out control speed demonstrations as low as possible, but not below 500 feet above the ground) than to the airplanes. It was as if the FAA just wanted to certify survivors to fly twins. It took a long time and a lot of effort to bring sense and logic to the FAA on this subject."

  9. Reports said they suffered engine issues and reported them while above Greenbank. They apparently had plenty of altitude at that point. While Greenbank may not have flat areas, there is plenty of open space to land uphill. We all have the thought of making it to a paved surface, but open space gives you time to pick a spot, evaluate winds, fly the airplane, review checklists, think. And you can do multiple turns and evaluate your altitude loss with each turn. Good to be humble when evaluating these accidents. I agree with all comments about the unconscious "pulling back" when approaching ground. I did this with my CFI in Florida when it was clear I wouldn't make the field, and he said most students and review pilots did this in the same situation. So we have to train to overcome this tendency.