Saturday, November 13, 2021

Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander, N866JA: Fatal accident occurred November 13, 2021 at Welke Airport (6Y8), Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, Michigan

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: CEN22FA031 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

McPhillips Flying Service Inc doing business as Island Airways

Date: 13-NOV-21
Time: 16:33:00Z
Regis#: N866JA
Aircraft Model: BN-2A
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 4
Flight Crew 1 fatal
Pax 3 fatal, 1 serious
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: ON DEMAND
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 135

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Friends said Bill Julian had a passion for aviation, not only for the enjoyment he got out of it for himself, but also for getting the next generation of pilots off the ground. 

William “Bill” Francis Julian, 55, of Traverse City, passed away unexpectedly November 13, 2021.

Bill was born in Bay City, June 25, 1966.

He attended and graduated from Bay City Central High School. Bill was involved with the school’s athletic program, excelling in football and basketball. Following graduation, Bill earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University. In 2003 Bill moved to Traverse City, met and married Katharine McKenzie and began a family.

Bill spent his professional life teaching and coaching. When he moved to Traverse City, he taught at St. Francis High School. He then took a position teaching social studies at East Middle School, where he remained until his passing.

In 1989 Bill earned his pilot license, followed by becoming a certified flight instructor in 1990. Bill loved to fly, and loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was known for his love of animals, especially for his Labrador Retrievers. He volunteered his time and distributed joy, with the help of his canine companion at Munson Medical Center. He was also a steward with the Leelanau Conservancy.

Bill leaves behind his wife Katherine McKenzie; daughter Elizabeth “Betsy;” mother Mary Ann Coryell; siblings Dennis (Tammie), Greg (Molly), Sue (Steve) and Jim (Leslie); step-mother Carol Julian; as well as many family members and friends.

He was predeceased by his father Vern Julian and step-father Charles Coryell.

Visitation will be held from 4-7 PM, Thursday November 18, at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. A memorial service is set for 1:30 PM, Saturday November 20, at Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City. Bill's memorial service will also be livestreamed at,

Memorial contributions may be directed to a charity of one’s choice, or to the Leelanau Conservancy,

Memories and condolences may be shared on Bill’s tribute page,

Bill Julian

 Kate Leese, and husband Adam Kendall
Frank and Baker

When the sirens go off on Beaver Island,  everyone that knows and loves everyone cringes to think, Who?

When  a small plane crashes, the news spreads quickly and everyone’s heart is immediately broken to wonder, who have we lost? What families will be suffering on this day?

On this day, we lost so much.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Mike Perdue, Kate Leese, and husband Adam Kendall, of Beaver Island and William Julian of Traverse City, Michigan. Christy Perdue, Michael’s wife, and mother of their four children , is the daughter of local resident, Carl Heller. Mike is a well-known, respected and loved member of the community,  and a realtor in Gaylord, Michigan. William Julian was a commercial pilot at Traverse City,  semi-retired and a recent part-time addition to Welke Airport.

Kate and Adam brought their family and dreams to Beaver Island in 2019. The happy, loving couple also brought love to all of the island community and all others they met along the way. Much like Mike and Christy Perdue,  they gave hope and inspiration and so much love to all they met.

Federal Aviation officials were present to investigate the crash over two days and gave an official statement to local news stations and the Northern-Islander Newspaper. A complete report from that interview will be available later today.

John Brannen, senior air safety investigator  for the National Transportation Safety Board and other members of the FAA team stated that the investigation will continue for months as investigators dig into the details of the weather conditions, flight records and the many other factors that will help determine some official and final report about the crash.

United States Coast Guard officials were only ten minutes away when the planes internal notification signal reached them. Fortunately, they were able to respond within those minutes and rescue Laney Perdue,  the 11-year-old daughter of Mike and Christy Perdue. Laney and William Julian were immediately airlifted to the mainland where Julian died, and Laney was transported to Grand Rapids Children’s Hospital where she remains under care and reported to be stable.

Response was immediate and swift from across the island as residents quickly made plans to contact the family and rescue 2100 grape vines planted at Kate and Adam’s Anthos Wine Farm. Dozens of residents met the family with food from Harbour Market Bodega at the farm to cover the young vines while cold temperatures and dangerous weather swirled around the grieving army.

Meanwhile, others gathered downtown at a recently installed art structure, brought to the island last year by Burning Man Festival coordinator,  Nathan Altman. Altman and partner Sarah Mueller, Northern-Islander editor, Cynthia Johnson, and Kate Nix lit a ceremonial fire in the fire platform of the sculpture. The traditional, culturally connected fire is lit and kept burning so that people can gather to send positive thoughts and help the lost loved ones find their spirit homes. The small group offered prayers and mantras throughout the long night of grief and mourning while others brought firewood and joined them in the harbor. On Sunday evening, hundreds attended a heart-rendering service led by Father Peter Wigdon of the Beaver Island Holy Cross Catholic Church.

Altman’s InnerSun project was designed with the goal of bringing communities together and was first lit for Summer Solstice in June 2021. The community had already gathered for the installation and celebrations and/or casual gatherings already this year. Constructed as a geodesic dome of 32 sheet metal panels,  the structure represents hundreds of hands,  with each person’s expression of what their “inner sun” means. Ranging from expressions of  “love,” “family” and many other sentiments of the celebrations of life,  the InnerSun project served this time,  to bring together and comfort a heavy-hearted community.

It is difficult to imagine at this time that comfort can be brought to anyone with this impossible loss before us. Coming so soon after many covid-19 losses,  the recent deaths of much-loved personalities,  Danny Johnson, Fiddler,  and Edward Palmer, island musician;  these precious lives lost are yet another heavy blow.

At the same time,  this sadness brings everyone closer together to offer prayers, food, hope and assistance to those left behind. A Go Fund Me account has been established for the family of Willian Julian, and for Mike Perdue family on Facebook.

More information and news will be available at in the coming days.

Kate Leese and Adam Kendall
Antho Vineyards

Mike Perdue
Smith Realty Group



A fatal plane crash on Beaver Island on Saturday afternoon left four dead, including the pilot. An 11-year-old girl is the lone survivor.   

According to initial reports from the Charlevoix County Sheriff's Department, the Island Airways 1:30 p.m. flight on Saturday, November 13 was arriving at Welke Airport on Beaver Island when it crashed. 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the type of plane that crashed on Beaver Island was a Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander. 

A crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was already in the air conducting training when they got an alert about the crash. The Coast Guard crew were able to see debris from the crash on the island and local emergency medical teams who were responding to the scene of the accident.  

The Coast Guard helicopter airlifted two people — one adult male and one female child — with only the child surviving.  

On Monday, Charlevoix County Sheriff Chuck Vondra reported the pilot’s name to be William Julian — a part-time pilot who started with Island Airways in April.

The other passengers on board were Gaylord realtor Mike Perdue, his 11-year-old daughter Laney, new-to-the-island Kate Leese and Adam Kendall, who were planning a vineyard in the area, and their two dogs. All were lost in the crash, including the two dogs, except Laney, who was severely injured. Laney was initially life-flighted to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey and was reportedly later transferred in better condition to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, according to local EMS officials. 

Ryan Wojan, Perdue’s business partner at Smith Realty in Gaylord, said he believed Perdue died protecting his daughter. 

"Mike was an amazing man. He wanted the best for everyone around him. From what the doctors and first responders said, he saved his daughter's life by cradling her during the crash. His daughter said she remembers her daddy squeezing her so hard," said Wojan. 

In his biography on the Smith Realty website, Perdue said he began his real estate career in 2012 under the mentorship of Dale Smith. Perdue and Wojan acquired the independent real estate firm from Smith in 2016.

“At my age, there are not many things that are new to you,” Smith told the Gaylord Herald Times on Monday. “But when I got the call from Ryan on Saturday, It was like someone had kicked me in the stomach and knocked me off my feet.”

“This is a very tragic thing that happened. I am so sorry for Christie (Perdue’s wife). Mike was a very good guy. We, like everybody in business, had our ups and downs but there was mutual respect," added Smith. "He leaves everything in good shape (and) has Ryan as a partner." 

Perdue was also a member of the Otsego County Economic Alliance, Inc. (OCEA) Board and the OCEA Executive Committee.   

“He truly believed in and was dedicated to OCEA’s mission of championing our local economies. He was slated to become OCEA’s vice-chairman for 2022. He was instrumental in working with local businesses to expand in Otsego County, as well as recruiting new businesses to invest into Otsego County. His commitment to his community was admirable. He will be greatly missed,” said Lisa McComb, executive director of OCEA. 

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the Perdue family. By midday on Monday, $60,600 had been raised of the $100,000 goal.

According to the GoFundMe page, Laney “is alert and talking and was able to tell them her mom’s name and phone number. She is being a trooper and so strong. There are many broken bones and injuries but most of them are ones that are going to heal on their own, another miracle!

“So many people have reached out and offered to help … Right now the focus is healing for Laney and the time frame is unknown. Once we have a better idea we will announcement service arrangements.”

Kate Leese and Adam Kendall had recently started a vineyard on Beaver Island, according to a Nov. 6 story in The Detroit News. Their two dogs, Frank and Baker, were also killed in the crash. 

On Monday, Charlevoix County Sheriff Chuck Vondra said “two members from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) along with two NTSB officials and two investigators from Lycom engines” had arrived on the scene to investigate the accident.  

”As far as we can tell, the pilot radioed in about 10 minutes out and again when he was a couple of minutes away from the island and everything was normal at that time,” Vondra said. 

During the time of the accident, the temperature on Beaver Island was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, with a windchill of 32 degrees and a wind speed of 15 mph out of the west, with gusts up to 25 mph. Visibility was up to 5 miles, according to 

The accident has hit the communities of Beaver Island and Charlevoix hard, Vondra added. 

“It hits hard for us and the people on Beaver Island,” he said. “It has a huge impact on the island, which is a small, close-knit community."

Beaver Island is located approximately 32 miles from the City of Charlevoix off Michigan's Lower Peninsula. With a year-round population of approximately 600 people, it is the largest island in Lake Michigan. 

Charlevoix’s city manager Mark Heydlauff said, “The Charlevoix and Beaver Island communities are separated by water but inextricably linked. We are figuratively and literally family. The tragedy on Saturday affects families throughout our shared community. We mourn with those who mourn and send our prayers and thoughts of recovery for the injured person. We stand with the grieving and will assist investigators as we can in understanding this tragedy. At times like this, an extra hug and expression of care is the best that can be offered for our hurting friends and neighbors.” 

Officials said plane crashes in the area are uncommon. This is the first crash of Island Airways, according to historical data.    

Another plane suffered a crash in February of 2001, which resulted in the death of the pilot and one passenger while a mother and her three children survived. They waited to be rescued in frigid winter temperatures for over 15 hours, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune at the time.  


  1. Haven't heard if Paul or Ryan was the pilot but either way, both great guys and great airmen. Kate and Adam also sound like very cool people. I saw that farm listed for sale last year and had been hoping some young folks would buy it and do something great with it.

  2. Responding to the other comment. If you mean Paul W. He was not the pilot. I don't know who was. I just know that it wasn't him.

    1. Thanks, I heard the same after I posted. Talked to Coast Guard buddies and they said not Paul but didn't know or couldn't say who it was. I don't know how many pilots Paul has, I only know of him and Ryan. RIP whoever it was. Such a sad event for all involved. Good news is at least the little girl is recovering and she still has her mother.

  3. Terribly sad. Been into that airport several times; can't place where this accident was on the airport.

  4. Looks like they tried to get in an hour before to the island but missed came back to CVX. Tried again then this happened.

    1. Never descended to decision height

    2. Where did you get this info? very interested

    3. They did something similar on Nov 04 - Turned around instead of landing, then came back a 2nd time later on.

    4. People frequently misinterpret the point at which ADS-B recording receivers are no longer able to capture a transmitted signal as the end of the flight.

      In the Nov 4 example, the lack of ADS-B recording near Welke was incorrectly interpreted as "turning around without landing".

      Look for time gaps visible in the track log. The Nov 4 track data inbound to Welke stops at 12:45:47 PM and the start of the return track is at 01:10:56 PM. There is 25 minutes in that gap, indicating that the aircraft landed, discharged the pax and took off again. It did NOT turn around without landing.

      Nov 4 "turnaround" track:
      Nov 4 "turnaround" track log:

      C'mon people, check the track log for time gaps and understand the receiver coverage in repetitive routes like this before posting that they crashed where the recording receivers are no longer able to capture a transmitted signal or that they did not land. Basic checking in the track log will prevent those misinterpretations.

    5. Happens somewhat regularly. I believe Welke Airport is VFR only. Being surrounded by the lake, weather pops up out of nowhere. It's only a 15 minute flight, but it can change that fast.

      The other airport on the island a few miles away has an RNAV approach but I don't know if they ever use that to land there instead or even to get close and break off approach below the ceiling.

    6. Once again I am asking you all to remember that ADS-B tracks can be incomplete, especially at low altitudes or in remote areas with few feeders. And if it is MLAT-derived data, it can be extremely inaccurate. So I would not draw any definitive conclusions about what you think the "last datapoint" shows.

  5. Replies
    1. KSJX 131835Z AUTO 33010G19KT 5SM -SN SCT018 SCT022 BKN028 03/00 A2974 RMK AO2 T00330003

    2. According to the incident reporting link the accident happened at 1633 Z. The metar for 1635Z shows gusty at the time but slightly better visibility and ceiling than earlier and later reports.

    3. The FAA crash time is incorrect. Look at ADS-B and adjust for UTC offset and you will find that the last data point is 18:47 Z.

  6. From what is "circulating" (rumor), it was a part-time pilot, an older gentleman, by the name of Bill? I've flown many times, to and fro, BI/Charl., and can't place the name Bill with a face. I know Paul (Welke) and Ryan and another younger gentleman, but can't place this "Bill."

    1. William Julian was reportedly hired this year. I never met him. Looks like he's from Traverse City.

      I've never flown Island Airways, but I run into them at CVX and occasionally on the island. Paul's a legend and Ryan is a great guy too. Relieved to hear it wasn't either of them, but of course still a terrible tragedy.

  7. I'm hearing that Bill was a teacher who took up flying as a side career simply because he loved aviation. He was 55 years old. Condolences to his family and friends.

    1. For clarity, interpreting the "took up flying" comment needs to include the pilot's Airmen registry info. By 2012, Mr. Julian had his commercial pilot and instructor certifications. Reportedly a recent hire into Island Airways, but not a case of just recently becoming certified.

    2. Wasn't implying he was recently certified. Point was that he did it because he loved aviation, not diminishing his experience in any way. He took up flying over 30 years ago. Later he took it up "as a side career" but his main career was always teaching. He flew because he loved it, not just for income.

  8. CBS Detroit:
    "The National Transportation Safety Board says it is looking at the weight of the plane and wind as possible factors."

    source, original:
    source, archived:


  9. A family member posted details on POA. Excerpt:

    "The crash was witnessed. They had radioed in 10 min out and 1 to 2 min out that everything was on track. The were on line with approach. At start of run way the left wing dipped and they went nose down from about 20 feet up."

    There are more details and weather description in the POA post: