Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Seawind 3000, N8UU: July 03, 2021, July 02, 2021, June 27, 2021 and June 26, 2021

Captain Dennis Collier

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Hatch, Craig

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Michael Matthews; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Charlevoix, Michigan 
Accident Number: CEN21LA321
Date and Time: July 3, 2021, 19:30 Local 
Registration: N8UU
Aircraft Damage: Unknown
Defining Event: Ditching
Ditching Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight at 5,500 ft in his amphibious airplane with the landing gear down over a lake on the last leg of an 8-day cross-country trip to his home airport, when the engine “sputtered” several times and then stopped operating. The pilot reported that at the same time the engine lost power, a “burnt” smell also entered the cockpit. The pilot conducted a forced landing to the lake. During the landing flare the landing gear caught in the water and the airplane nosed forward into the lake. The airplane came to a stop on the surface upright but began to fill with water. The pilot was rescued before the airplane sank.

The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and was flying it back to his home airport. The pilot reported several issues with the airplane that resulted in several mishaps during the 8-day trip. During the forced landing, the pilot was unable to put down flaps, or retract the landing gear, because the airplane had no hydraulic pressure. In a conversation with the FAA, and because of a previous issue with the landing gear, the pilot agreed to fly with the landing gear down to ensure a good landing at his destination.

The airplane was not recovered; therefore, the engine could not be examined, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined. Additionally, based on the pilot’s flight, it’s likely the airplane was not airworthy before the pilot’s initial departure.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons based on available evidence.


Aircraft (general) - Unknown/Not determined

Factual Information

History of Flight

Unknown Ditching (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 60
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 1, 2021
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SWANN LYNN J 
Registration: N8UU
Model/Series: SEAWIND 3000 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2008 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special)
Serial Number: 118
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle; Amphibian
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Unknown 
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-540
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCVX,646 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 19:55 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 159°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 260° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Manistique, MI (KISQ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Boyne City, MI (N98)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Unknown
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.388545,-85.320435 (est) 

Seawind 3000, N8UU
July 3, 2021

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

July 02, 2021:  Aircraft landed hard and veered off runway at The O'Neill Municipal Airport (KONL),  Holt County, Nebraska.  

BoltAir Ltd

Date: 02-JUL-21
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N8UU
Aircraft Make: SEAWIND
Aircraft Model: 3000
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

June 27, 2021:  Aircraft veered off runway due to electrical issue and lost use of landing lights at Four Corners Regional Airport (KFMN), San Juan County, New Mexico.

BoltAir Ltd

Date: 27-JUN-21
Time: 03:22:00Z
Regis#: N8UU
Aircraft Make: SEAWIND
Aircraft Model: 3000
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California

June 26, 2021:  Aircraft  landed gear up at Brackett Field Airport (KPOC), La Verne, California.  

BoltAir Ltd

Date: 26-JUN-21
Time: 16:33:00Z
Regis#: N8UU
Aircraft Make: SEAWIND
Aircraft Model: 3000
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Pilot Captain Dennis Collier
Seawind 3000, N8UU, flying over New Mexico earlier this month.

Seawind 3000, N8UU, in New Mexico earlier this month.

United States Coast Guard boat responding to a distress signal by pilot Captain Dennis Collier, who crashed his Seawind 3000, N8UU into Lake Michigan near Beaver Island on July 3, 2021.

United States Coast Guard boat responding to a distress signal by pilot Captain Dennis Collier, who crashed his Seawind 3000, N8UU into Lake Michigan near Beaver Island on July 3, 2021.

CHARLEVOIX — A small amphibious airplane is on the bottom of Lake Michigan after crashing during the Fourth of July weekend — but fasten your seatbelts because the pilot says how it got there is one barnstormer of a story.

Dennis Collier, a licensed Traverse City pilot, paid $110,000 for the 2010 Seawind on a Saturday, ended up in the drink a week later, and on the way crashed — by his own account — seven times, in seven days in four states.

“Oh yeah, it’s a hell of a story,” Collier said, of his plan to fly solo from the west coast to Boyne City. “From California to the U.P., everyone kept telling me I was lucky to be alive.”

Collier wanted to capture the experience while it was fresh in his mind so he wrote a first-person account, in case it had any motion picture potential.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Michigan State Police all performed various response and investigative functions at his crashes, too, so their information adds to the narrative.

Then there’s the 88-year-old pilot who built the airplane and sold it to Collier, the inhospitable sage grasses of New Mexico, the airport manager who once worked for Virgin Galactic and the Michigan State Police troopers who helped with hydraulics.

With that baggage packed, let’s prepare for departure.

On June 25, Collier flew commercial, landing at Los Angeles’ LAX where Lynn Swann, the retired pilot, airplane builder and self-described “grumpy old man” who’d advertised the Seawind 3000 for sale, was there to meet him.

The two aviators drove east from Los Angeles to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and Bracket Field Airport — coincidentally, the filming location of “Airport ’74,” where Charlton Heston saved the passengers. It's also the filming location for the sequel to “Airport.”

It was here where Collier got his first gander at his new-used Seawind.

At the time he was just excited about the purchase, though later said he didn't think the condition of the plane had been properly conveyed to him.  

Collier said in his diary he did notice instrument and other repairs were needed, and surmised Swann used Collier’s $4,000 deposit to make some, but not all, of these.

Swann says that while the plane hadn’t been flown for two years, a pilot friend had taken it for a test flight and the aircraft was ship-shape, with only 20 hours of flying time on the engine.

“I went to get some supplies and told him he could wait for me or take off,” Swann said. “I came back and he was already lined up to take off. And I figured, OK, cool.”

Collier said nope, it wasn’t. Not for him, not cool at all.

Crash #1

“I radioed to the tower for a test flight over the airport,” Collier wrote. “Climbing to 500 feet above pattern altitude doing left hand turns staying within the airport's landing pattern. After the first turn I noticed the nose up without inputs ... I set up for landing after the third time around.”

FAA records show Collier landed “gear up” and while he escaped injury, the Seawind got pretty banged up.

Swann said it would have been worse if he hadn’t installed a block of wood under the front of the plane, and that two inches of solid oak took the brunt of the impact. Collier said Swann and his “hanger buddies” helped make repairs after which, Collier said, he felt abandoned.

“Having a sinking feeling that this was it, I had to go,” Collier said.

Next stop — a layover in New Mexico and Collier’s first night landing in 20 years.

It was 3:22 a.m. and the descent did not go well.

Crashes #2 and #3

“The airplane stalled and came down hard and to the left of the runway and into the weeds and bumpy sage grasses,” Collier said.

Dawn broke the next morning on an ugly view.

Collier, who had again escaped injury, learned he’d wiped out a sign and some runway lights and did a number on the Seawind’s tail. Plus, staff with Four Corners Airport in San Juan County had called the FAA.

A test flight ended in another runway incident, said Mike Lewis, airport manager.

“We’re square,” Lewis said. “We called the FAA and filed a report. From what I understand, the damage wasn’t anything that would make the airplane unflyable.”

FAA spokesperson Tony Molinaro said the agency does not comment on ongoing investigations, though Collier said he did talk with an investigator.

“After a lengthy explanation of landing in the dark without a landing light the FAA was satisfied with my explanation,” Collier said. The investigator said at least he hadn’t been “busting any airspace parameters,” Collier added.

FAA records show there is restricted airspace between California and New Mexico, including over Disneyland, the White Sands Missile range and the Nevada Test and Training Range at Edwards Air Force Base — more popularly known as “Area 51.”

Collier said he didn’t see any UFOs but did spend a few days in New Mexico.

Which, come to think of it, sounds like a movie title, though if Hollywood comes calling Collier said he prefers, “7 Days, 7 Crashes” and has his heart set on Tom Hanks in the lead role.

Collier recorded in his diary how a local airplane mechanic found him an empty hanger where he could park the Seawind, then loaned him some tools and gave him a ride to a hardware store to fetch supplies.

Collier, who said he'd flown regularly years ago, previously built his own plane.

"I'm a mechanic" he told himself, "I can do this." 

On July 2, Collier was airborne again.

Crashes #4 and #5

“My plan was to go north along the western slope of the Rockies to avoid the approaching front from Taos, New Mexico to Chicago and east was not the way to get over the mountains,” Collier said.

He ran into a rain squall but the plane performed well enough for Collier to engage the auto pilot, using rivers and highways as navigational aids, turning east after about two hours in the air.

Slicing through the sky over America’s breadbasket, however, Collier again encountered trouble.

The left wing’s servo (hinged tab) was stuck, he said, and the nose of the plane kept pitching up. When it got worse, Collier put a rag between his knee and the yoke (steering wheel) and pushed as hard as he could toward Nebraska.

There was stalling, there was skipping through the rough and there was crisscrossing the runway but after four attempts, Collier said he landed at O’Neill Municipal Airport in Holt County.

“I forced it to the ground and off into the grasses and eventually back onto the runway and taxied to an awaiting golf cart, and an airport manager and wife team that got me to calm down from shaking,” Collier said.

That team was Al and Natalie Sibi — who both said they suggested Collier to separate himself from his purchase — he on a commercial flight, the Seawind on a flatbed but both bound for Michigan. 

When that idea didn’t fly, the Sibis put Collier up, fed him, found a hanger for him to use and loaned him a jack and some tools.

A test flight ended in another crash, Collier said, but he went back to work on the plane and found and fixed some crossed wires. 

By July 3 at 7 a.m., Collier was more than ready to put Nebraska below and behind him.

“I opened the hanger door and attempted to push the Seawind out,” Collier said. “Getting a few feet, I decided to just fire it up and get going. Taxied out to the runway and with full power lifted eastward into the morning sun.”

Sibi said he's known many pilots with "get-home-itus" and Collier was one of those.  

Takeoff, the climb and the autopilot cruise over South Dakota and Minnesota at 7500 feet went fine. Five hours out of Nebraska, he passed Escanaba and saw Schoolcraft County Airport in Manistique, about 5 miles off.

Then, something went “clunk.”

Crash #6

The hydraulic pressure gauge was registering zero, Collier said, and the fuel gauge showed an uneven supply.

He radioed the airport to ask whether there was a spotter on the ground who could look up as he passed and let him know if the landing gear was down — no response.

The engine sputtered, the gauge showed less than four gallons of fuel and Collier said he was pretty sure the landing gear under the nose wasn’t down.

“I landed it with both mains and held it off as long as I could and then the nose hit and the plane skidded down the runway a few hundred yards to a stop at the edge of the pavement but well before the end of the runway,” Collier said.

No injuries, the damage was repairable and while Collier didn’t see anyone around — no golf cart reception this time — the terminal was within walking distance and the doors were unlocked. Collier said he went in, sat down and considered his lot.

His plane was dinged and out of fuel, his cellphone was shut off and he hadn’t seen a soul.

Cue the angel choir — because there, across the street and gleaming in the sunshine, was a welcoming log-themed motel.

Holiday Motel Manistique co-owner, Pat Mead, let Collier use his phone, knew a store that sold hydraulic oil and drove Collier there.

“A lot of pilots stay here,” said Kara Mead, who, in March, bought the motel with her husband. “He did take him to get the hydraulic oil. Owning a motel, you get requests sometimes that don’t have to do with booking a room.”

Collier arrived back at Schoolcraft Municipal about the same time as the Michigan State Police. He on foot, MSP in a cruiser with lights and sirens.

Lt. Mark Giannunzio, an assistant MSP post commander, said troopers were dispatched to the airport to check out a report that someone’s landing gear wasn’t working properly. At the scene, MSP turned the incident over to the FAA, Giannunzio said.

Collier writes in his diary that troopers interviewed him and loaned him a phone to call the FAA — “once again I was on the phone talking to them explaining what had occurred.”

FAA spokesperson Molinaro said the agency couldn’t comment on this investigation, either.

The troopers drove Collier out to the Seawind and held up the nose so he could add a quart of hydraulic oil.

Later, when reflecting on his journey, the faces of the two troopers would be added to those of all the people who'd helped him along the way. 

"Everyone cares," Collier said, of the general aviation community. "They take you under their wing and into their hanger."

After a week of bumps, clunks and official inquiries from air and land authorities, Collier was finally near his goal — landing his plane in Boyne City.

He checked the fuel gauge and looked inside the tanks and realized the gauge was flipped. The tank that read empty was full, the tank that read full was nearly empty. Perhaps the pump failed, Collier thought, maybe that was the source of the "clunk."

He called a relative who offered the use of a credit card, Collier refueled and taxied to the runway.

Crash #7

The plan was to head south, over Lake Michigan, Beaver Island, Charlevoix and land at the Boyne City Municipal Airport. Per his promise to the FAA, Collier wrote in his diary he’d leave the landing gear down for the 25-minute flight.

It was July 3.

As luck would have it, President Joe Biden was visiting and Collier had to wait for the TFR, or temporary flight restriction, to be lifted before he could depart.

Back in Nebraska, Al Sibi said he was still thinking about what aircraft accident investigators call the "Swiss Cheese Model": Every airplane mishap puts a hole in the slice until the plane is more holes than cheese. 

At 7:22 p.m., Flight Aware, an air travel database, shows the Seawind over Manistique. At 7:49 p.m. the plane disappears from radar.

That was about the time Collier said the engine sputtered and he smelled something burning.

He’d just passed Beaver Island, was out over open water and turned back, hoping to land at the island’s airport.

But the wing flaps weren’t responding and the hydraulic pressure gauge read nil. Collier said he had no choice but to attempt his first water landing.

“I glanced back over the water and realized I could judge my altitude with the glittering of the sun over the small ripple of the water,” Collier said. “Time seemed to slow and I was transfixed on the beauty of the sun over the water ... I could see it coming and it was really close.”

But, per his promise to the FAA, the landing gear was still down. 

“The gear caught the water and the plane went forward and with a big splash went nose down vertically and into the water.”

For a few seconds, Collier said he was staring straight down into the deep. Then the plane popped up, Collier sent out a distress call, checked himself for injuries — again, none —and tried to focus.

The plane was built like boat. It would float, right? He’d wait for rescue, get the plane towed to shore and fix it again.


Collier isn’t sure how much time passed before he saw a U.S. Coast Guard rescue boat headed his way. By then, the cockpit was full of water, the plane was sinking, his shoes, hat, landing light and new headset were floating away reminiscent of a scene from "Titanic."

"I was holding on, all alone, thinking about my family," Collier said. "It was terrifying. It was a time of realizing I might not make it."

A Coast Guard helicopter circled overhead. Collier by now was perilously perched on the tail. He lifted his head from his hands and gave them a wave. Minutes, later he was aboard a rescue boat.

When news the plane had crashed and sunk reached New Mexico, Lewis shared a theory: the hull of the plane had likely been breached during one of the crashes.

Collier gave a statement to MSP, was checked by a Charlevoix Hospital emergency room physician and released in the wee hours of the Fourth of July.

He said he was happy to be alive.

From the front desk of the motel, Kara Mead said she was happy for him. 

“We didn’t know about Nebraska, but he told us the rest and I’m just glad he’s okay,” she said.

If this were a movie, a director might be tempted to employ poetic license and have Collier somehow, some way, fly off into the wild blue yonder as the credits roll.

But Collier said the Seawind wasn't insured. And the experience was so traumatic, he doesn't see himself piloting an airplane again.

John Masson, U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson, said they’ve seen no evidence of pollution in Lake Michigan and the fuel was low so the plane, which is in about 300 feet of water, is unlikely to ever be raised.

Whether Collier incurs fines or faces legal action is up to the FAA, Masson said.

The FAA’s investigation is ongoing and is expected to take several weeks to complete, Molinaro said. 

Collier recorded his version of an ending in his diary. He's standing outside the hospital in Charlevoix, and the final lines read like this:

"I wondered about the day. Flying all the way from a disaster in O'Neill NB and a nose landing at Schoolcraft and almost dying. Let alone the episodes in NM and CA. It was over. I'm alive. And I'm home."

Pilot Dennis Collier and Pax
Seawind 3000, N8UU, earlier this month.

Dennis Collier and his Lancair

Dennis Collier and his Lancair

Den Collier


  1. Was it being flown with gear down because of recent damage?

    Final accident:

    1. Read the story. It was being flown gear down because of the perfect melding of a government bureaucrat and a silly clown.
      If the gear had been stowed, even this MAROON WOULD HAVE MADE IT TO TRAVERSE CITY.

  2. This is ridiculous, 4 mishsps in eight days ! I've flown for 25 years and luckily never put a scratch on a plane.

  3. This is a first to track an airplane across the USA by checking the accident reports. I really hope that guy doesn't get to fly that plane again and thank goodness nobody on the ground got hurt during his escapades.

  4. Judging by the Coast Guard pictures, it looks like it was heading to the bottom of Lake Michigan. Looks to be around 200' deep there.


  5. Aircraft seemed to have flown well, the issues were all landing-related.

    1. I am the airport mgr at KONL..I spent 3 days with this fellow..He landed gear up the day he bought it for 100 plus grand..in CA...Then ran off the runway in NM..wiping out landing lights and left flap..He repaired it..the we were his next stop..5 attempts to land..last one lost it on landing..creamed two runway lights..His story was..Airplane sat for 2 years..when he got to us he had already damaged the hull...I fed him..housed him..and gave him tools and parts..We got his CG corected for his pilot weight..He replaced the trim motor..ad the first was inop..hence the 4 attempts to land..He was way aft..outside the envelope..Luccky to be alive..lucky...His trip to test everything was not much better..his trim was reversed..wiped out right main and brake assembly..Feds talked to him..We advised him to truck the plane..he refused all efforts..Snuck out Saturday..did not pay his bill..made it all the way home..over the lake..his engine quit..He deadsticked it back to a nearby airport..broke the nosewheel.Fixed it again..added fuel..Now ran all the tanks dry..sucked all the fiberglass trash into the fuel system..Took off halfway across the lake..it quit again..Nosegear was locked down..hull was scraped and damaged..lanned dead stick in the lake..nose gear down..Fliped over..lucky to have gotten out..Airplane is at the bottom of Lake MI..Nice guy..bit of a temper..hellbent on gethomeitis...No insurance..lost it all because of god knows why...It was like watching 2 trains heading towards one another..nothing you could do..Even the FAA..after verifying his credentials and barely current currency.They.said to let..him go..Sad day indeed..

    2. and one more time another black eye for G A ! what an A-H!

    3. I would call him an idiot, but there are real idiots out there who don't deserve to be lumped in with this clown. Stupid moron like this deserves to lose $100K+ on this venture. I hope he paid cash for it, or the holder of the note holds him to it. That photo of him, well, it kinda says it all. Would you buy a used car from this man? No insurance? No problem!

    4. Flew one of these Seawinds out of Clear Lake, Ca a few years back as part of a repositioning flight to Oregon. I found the airplane to be very fast and didn’t slow down as you’d expect when gear came down. I had to really plan the arrivals especially on water. Definitely not an airplane for a novice. Very pitch sensitive and changes in power greatly effected pitch at low speeds.
      I hate to see anybody lose an airplane, or suffer injuries. This fellow should have seen the signs that he was way behind the airplane from the start. I didn’t see a airplane sea endorsement, did I miss something? If no experience landing on water, he found out the hard way about lack of training.

  6. Wow, thanks for sharing. Well I guess he got his new plane ‘almost’ all the way home to Michigan. Haste makes waste.

  7. Turned around to ditch about 50 miles north of Traverse City. Flying all the way from Cali, wrecking and patching, but missed making it home by just that little bit.

  8. Sounds like he was an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately not fatal

    1. Until the next time this moron climbs into an airplane. Then who knows what he'll hit. Maybe he should move to Newark, Oregon and run for mayor. I hear there may be an opening soon.

    2. Going into the hangar with a mirror he was taking back to Michigan he inadvertently walked under a ladder and dropped the mirror trying to avoid a black cat who was crossing his path. Give the guy a break!

  9. If he hadn't had the first engine failure and landed at ISQ, he probably would have flown right into the presidential TFR.

  10. Replies
    1. The United States Coast Guard is a federal law enforcement agency and a military force, and therefore is a faithful protector of the United States in peacetime and war. God Bless America

    2. All I've got to say is that picture of him in the lounge chair speaks volumes about his attitude. It's like who me? They will never catch me. Rules, they are for everyone else. I can crash an airplane 4 times on a cross country and just be happy-go-lucky and spend your taxpayer dollars to rescue me. Who cares

    3. And who pays for that? We do! For this Idiot.

    4. Just another regular duty day. No sailor wants to sit around tied to the dock. Except for fuel cost, no added expense to go pick him up vs. a no-call day.

    5. yet again the same "Rules are not for me" diatribe is posted, regardless of the situation. Have you taken a look at how great 'general aviation' is in all of those totalitarian countries you obviously envy? People have freedom in the USA, and that rubs you the wrong way doesn't it?

    6. You nailed it. We spent tens of thousands of duty hours waiting for something to happen. This happened. Big deal

  11. Ironic, his picture is how I imagined him.

  12. Serious question - how do we keep guys like this from flying?

    1. Doesn't appear in this case that any justification existed to block a certificated pilot/mechanic from operating and patching up a registered experimental category aircraft.

    2. NTSB investigates, reports after months, advices yet in the end it is the federal FAA with the enfocement powers and local and state law enforcement appear to act only in a supportive role.

    3. We hope he's out of money and takes up whittling as his new hobby.

    4. Request his medical records and pray to the deity of your choice that he has some remote history of ADHD/Depression.

    5. Umm no- what we don’t need is the FAA to get even more overly bent out of shape for depression and ADHD than they already are. They should be able to yank this guys ticket based on these four incidents alone.

  13. 4 accidents in 8 days. That's got to be a record. Congrats to the pilot. Now please stop flying before you kill yourself or someone else.

    1. With his luck, the other person would get killed and he'd walk away.

  14. Ted Striker was a better pilot than this guy. And Ted had a drinking problem.

    1. Roger , roger. What's our vector victor?

  15. Alright who gave Homer Simpson a license? Doh!

    1. Nay Homer. Peter Griffin! He crashed his Petercopter. Or was it Hindenpeter?

  16. turned away from the Pearly Gates for a third time !

  17. Doesn't somebody need to pay for the cleanup in the waters? Oil, fuel. Maybe the owner still has an invoice coming.

    1. Interesting question. Non-destructive ditching didn't breach engine case and was unlikely to pop off fuel filler cap. Fuel tank vent port is only way for fuel to be released. Probably minimal to no sheen as it sank.

      Web search for regulations or cases of fines for submerged aircraft polluting lakes doesn't seem to return any results. Just another artifact deep in the lake.

    2. Very likely he'll be getting at least one bill. No idea if any cleanup was done in this case (sometimes oil can stay contained indefinitely and sometimes it escapes and can't be cleaned up) but Coast Guard works with EPA and EGLE (state EPA) to determine that. If EGLE determines it's a risk for continued or future leaking, they can order the aircraft removed from the bottomlands. Usually doesn't happen except in shallow water where they're a hazard to navigation. There are several planes on the bottom, many boats, even a couple cars I know of surprisingly far from shore.

    3. He probably ran everything bone dry and there's nothing to clean up

    4. He probably ran everything bone dry and there's nothing to clean up

    5. Well, we know for sure his tank was empty on common sense and good judgement!

  18. Someone tell me that this brain-dead potato can't fly anymore.

  19. KONL mgr: Send bill here:


    Company Number
    Previous Company Numbers


    Incorporation Date
    3 July 2003 (about 18 years ago)
    Company Type
    Michigan (US)
    Registered Address

    United States

    Alternative Names

    FANTASTIC SAMS #03007 (trading name, 2003-07-03 - 2013-12-31)
    LOVE HAIR (trading name, 2013-05-09 - 2018-12-31)

    Agent Name
    Agent Address
    Directors / Officers

    BUTCH, director
    DENNIS COLLIER, president
    DENNIS COLLIER, treasurer
    DENNIS COLLIER, secretary

  20. Nice plane
    Correction was a nice plane

  21. Wondering if alcohol was involved?

    1. I believe alcohol was involved when his pic was taken

  22. Power/pitch reaction being reversed with the high-mount engine made it difficult for a self-learner, but you can't deny his mechanic skills to patch up damaged landing gear more than once and get going again.

    That photo has a David Puddy from Seinfeld vibe.

    1. I was thinking more like someone you would see after you opened the closet door after watching a late night Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode 🤣

  23. https://twitter.com/dedubia - He really needs to use the picture from this story as his twitter picture.

  24. Not to throw salt in the wound, but the siding on his house is mis-aligned.

  25. I hope this pilot is getting the mental health support he needs. This is not a normal situation. Is a person reaching out for help. I hope he finds it.

    1. This clown wasn't reaching out for help. That is pure sophistry, based on decades of left wing crap. He had money, some skills in aviation, and rolled the dice. I love it. I fully intend to drop in on him someday and buy him a beer.

  26. Local newspaper did a story about the whole trip from California: https://www.record-eagle.com/news/seawind-saga-pilot-who-crashed-in-lake-michigan-had-7-crashes-in-7-days/article_867676c0-e8d7-11eb-be82-db592d516d36.html

    Dennis seems to think he's some kind of hero in the story, talking about a movie being made about it.

    1. Story was written as if he was observing instead of making all those poor decisions. He will have to wait his turn until after the movie about the staged Bonanza ditching in half moon bay gets made.

      At least he only wrecked his own, not somebody else's airplane like the tuber who criticizes NTSB just did!

  27. The picture looks to be a selfie. LOL. This guy must be a very lucky person. Most pilots don’t live to have 2 crashes, let alone 4 in a week. I agree this plane deserved better. The airport manager post says it all.. we have no room in aviation for this. He may be nonchalant about his life but he has no right to risk innocents on the ground beneath him.

  28. Pilot has a medical certificate dated May 2021. Obviously the pilot is not mentally stable as of July 2021 -- only 30 - 60 days later. NTSB probably should contact this doctor and ask how and why this pilot was given a clean bill of health in May 2021. Maybe evaluate whether or not this doctor should be allowed to continue issuing airman medical certificates.

    1. ^^ Absolutely right! "Obviously" a deranged mechanic rated pilot thinking he would bring the newly acquired plane back and make repairs along the way.

      AME's should be trained to see the warning signs (a remnant of grease under a fingernail, Leatherman Tool on the belt, perhaps) and Baker Act all of them. Thanks for the comedy post!

    2. So your theory is that mental fitness is not part of the evaluation. You're probably not real aware of what's going on during the exam. The questions you're being asked and so forth.

    3. No theory was proposed. But it's a comedy post by default because nobody commenting on KR was present to hear the pilot's answers during the AME exam.

      Please forgive the presumption that his AME is not who is here on KR posting the recommendation to have his AME investigated. If his AME is posting, then it is a very clever comedy post.

  29. Should lose all ratings, licenses, A&P, all of it. And be sent a hefty bill for all damages to any city property. Absolute d-bag who I'm sure has left a trail of misery throughout his life.

  30. The one thing folks missing here?
    "He called a relative who offered the use of a credit card, Collier refueled and taxied to the runway."

    what type of person spends 100k on a plane and doesn't have money to buy fuel?

  31. 100% jackass and a burden to GA's public perception of cowboy a-holes doing what they want while not considering ill effects to others around them. People like this guy are a path to extinction for GA......persistence i respect yes (this seems like BS story but too many corroborations) but without actual good judgement in play.

  32. I will suggest he sell movie rights to me for $10,000,000. US. Yes $10 million. Also would want him to act and direct production.

  33. "But Collier said the Seawind wasn't insured. And the experience was so traumatic, he doesn't see himself piloting an airplane again."

    This is the best news I've heard. You are not a pilot sir!

  34. Collier said, of his plan to fly solo from the west coast to Boyne City. “From California to the U.P.

    Boyne City is not in the U.P.

    1. Read the whole sentence. From CA to the UP, everyone kept telling him he was lucky to be alive. People probably would have said it in Boyne City too if he had made it there, but the UP was his last stop before the plane sank and the Coast Guard took him to Charlevoix.

    2. Don't blame this on the UP.
      Traverse City is not in the UP.
      Look it up.

    3. Nobody is blaming it on the UP. The article says people in the UP told him he was lucky to be alive. It was talking about all his mishaps along the way including in the UP. I have an office in Traverse City, so no need to look it up. Nobody said anything about TC being in the UP.

    4. Apparently, Da Yoopers here are really touchy after the second week of deer camp.

  35. Good thing he doesn't have insurance. If he did his string of mishaps and damage would raise everyone's rates

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Just got my annual insurance bill from Avemco, to insure a 98 A36 and a 82 B60, the premium went up 8% or $1520.00. Not due to any loss history of recent, my one and only crash was in 1996 due to a engine failure on departure. Underwriter I spoke with cited an ever increasing overall loss landscape.
      To read about accidents like this one really makes me mad. Even if he was uninsured, he contributes to an overall accident database that actuaries use to calculate risks.

  36. I suspect the FAA will call him to ask about the whole airworthiness part after the plane was damaged several times.

  37. Michigan pilot crashes 7 times in one trip. He lived to tell about it - Detroit News

    Dennis Collier crashed his plane seven times during a trip from California to Michigan. He survived but the plane lies on the bottom of Lake ...

    Detroit News

  38. This guy lacks the major requirement that is needed to be a pilot; an ability to make sound, reasoned, logical, and well thought out decision-making, whenever flight is to be undertaken, and the risks involved, carefully assessed.
    His thought processes are scattered, his decision-making processes are spontaneous and ill-considered, and his aircraft checking capabilities are so deficient, he should never have been granted a pilots licence.
    The sad part is, there's a lot of people like him still flying aircraft; even commercial aircraft.

  39. I enjoyed reading this. Sure was a comedy of errors, but the risk was mostly (yes, not completely) to an adult and his toy. Wasn't even insured..(YOUR rates then unaffected.)
    I don't know the details of Coast Guard expenses, but helping him probably took the place of some training and waiting around for...a call like this? It doesn't seem any dumber than helping some boater that didn't bother to check weather.
    I worked for a charter operator that skimped on maintenance and egregiously violated crew duty time rules. And had a fatal accident. And hid behind a useless "platinum" rating, awarded by a company that passengers seem to trust, after self evaluating.
    THAT behavior is something worthy of all the vitriol in the comments here, not some guy performing the Aviation equivalent of goofing around in a crappy car on a lightly traveled backroad. And wrecking it, getting lucky.
    It's funny.
    The worst thing I read in the story is that he didn't pay the airport manager guy.

  40. Not sure why so many commenters think this guy is a certificated A&P-- he isn't. He has a Repairman-EAB cert for a Lancair. He also doesn't have an ASES rating. Source: FAA registry

  41. I do believe his account of his own tomfoolery is the most excruciating read of my lifetime.....bar none!

  42. The best part of reading this article are the comments. A total roast!
    The part I found most puzzling is why he went ahead with handing the owner all that money without even checking and satisfying himself that it was a good airplane. I mean that's like Buyer 101 and caveat emptor, etc. This is as dumb as one of those fake Nigerian e-mail banking scams.

  43. If true, then how did such an individual manage to accumulate the funds for everything mentioned (if not just a pathological crook)? And, if true, how did such a person live long enough to get to this point in life?
    Sure, the world is full of idiots but one of this order couldn't be expected to to get anywhere in aviation -- unless he had a relatively recent unfortunate cognitive issue.

  44. I Totally enjoyed reading ever line!
    I’m glad you lived to tell the tale!
    BRAVO- THANKYOU for sharing this.

    I’ve always been told:”better to be LUCKY, than smart”

    You one luckeeeee,.....dude !,,

  45. Has the honorable gentleman ever considered pursuing a different hobby, or even retirement?

    1. Den Collier is the President of StaWest Inc. He recently released a book - Winds of Change: A Tale of True Grit, True Love, and Survival Chasing Dreams of Flying. He built a Lancair and is well traveled. A hard worker throughout his life.

      Den Collier has a legacy to be a pilot that was handed down to him by his grandfather. And when a tragic event in his life teaches him that his time on this earth is too precious to waste, he fulfills his legacy and learns to fly, then builds his own airplane as his personal escape machine.

      A few years later, he sells the plane and concentrates on raising his sons. After two decades, his boys are out on their own, and Den is drawn to flying once again. He buys a plane in California and heads off on a flight back to Michigan. But he has no sooner gotten into the air when his legacy begins to seem more like a curse, and his childhood dream of flying collapses into a nightmare fight for survival.

    2. Thank you for more insight. My above comment might be worded a bit wrong, I would rather see Den alive, happy and enjoying croquet and having a beer with him than read about him having a mishap in an airplane because his enthusiasm overrides the fact that his previous skills have been eroded due to inactivity. I've been an instructor since 1986 and have even given my own daughter flying lessons and will continue her training when she finishes university. Over the years, I have had the distressing duty of advising a handful of folks not to continue flying due to inability or eroded skills which they can't catch up. On another note, I suggest that Kathryn's Report explore a platform on which everyone registers and has a profile. This way we can get to know each other and avoid trolls (I'm not suggesting that "Anonymous Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 7:58:00 PM EDT" is a troll, I appreciate your comment, but just read some of the other comments above.)

  46. I hope that Den's book is successful so he can repay everyone who is out money because of his epic journey. "Crash" Collier should consider a sequel. Only this time make the trip by land in a rusted out '84 Oldsmobile with no brakes and bald tires.

    1. If you read the book, you would know that restitution and donations were entirely made to all personnel and organizations. SkyKing, your snippy, sarcastic remarks online show us your true self in real life. You always seem to have a chip on your shoulder.

  47. I'm just surprised the Lancair didn't kill him. This is one of those fact stranger than fiction

  48. Holy Smokes. I looked at the first picture where he has just washed the airplane and realized he's at Bracket airport. I wash my hands in those bathrooms all the time. Makes you realize the idiocy around you and you don't even know it.

  49. Duuuuuuuude!!!!
    Please never fly again. You are mentally impaired. Severe reasoning deficit.

    1. I think you are being too kind. And yes, please God don't let this man behind the controls of an aircraft again.

  50. It is people like this who “persuade” people to leave aviation. 50 years as a pilot, CFI and A&P, and there are plenty of people like this in aviation

    1. Certainly makes A&Ps think twice about taking on questionable customers.

  51. And in some weird way this was all perfectly legal. Drugs and alcohol involved would make more sense. All airplanes disassemble for shipping. Poor judgment knows no bounds. How is this clown act still alive? I knew a pilot very much like this. Cut all mechanical safety corners on his personal plane, and laughed about how he violated ATC rules all the time and never got caught. Argued constantly with all the repair mechanics. One day he was ferrying his barely airworthy plane VFR for a more favorable annual inspection report and flew into low clouds and hit an obscured mountaintop. Ironically, and very much appropriately, he died for 100% pilot error, not equipment malfunction. Poor judgment knows no bounds.