Monday, September 05, 2022

Cessna 177B Cardinal, N35243: Accident occurred September 05, 2022 in Ivanhoe, Pender County, North Carolina

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Read, Leah

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Barry Blumquist; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina


Location: Ivanhoe, North Carolina 
Accident Number: ERA22LA406
Date and Time: September 5, 2022, 15:30 Local
Registration: N35243
Aircraft: Cessna 177B 
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N35243
Model/Series: 177B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 34.5845,-78.2419 

Aircraft experienced engine issues and landed in a field and came to stop in a ditch.  

Date: 05-SEP-22
Time: 19:54:00Z
Regis#: N35243
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 177
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: IVANHOE
State: NORTH CAROLINA


PENDER COUNTY, North Carolina (WECT) - Two people flying inside a small private airplane were injured after the plane had to make an emergency landing. At least two people in the area saw the plane go down, including a farmer picking corn.

Pender County 911 got a call for a downed aircraft at 3:54 p.m. on Monday, September 5. First responders were able to find the two on a private farm off of Shiloh Road and took them to a local hospital. It’s currently not clear how severe their injuries are.

Local first responders including State Highway Patrol responded to the incident, and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident further.

“We were just working on Labor Day and one of my drivers saw the plane coming over the road here,” said Gene West, who witnessed the aftermath of the crash. “And so it kept getting lower and lower and when he turned the corner and looked back, he saw it go down and he called me.”

“NTSB will come in and they’ll do their investigation to see what, where, when, and how and why the plane went down,” said Tommy Batson of Pender County Emergency Management. “And at that time, they may be able to release photos and more information on the plane’s make, model, tail number, and other information that you wish to have.”

WECT will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as new information comes in.

Beech 36 Bonanza, N7835R: Accident occurred September 05, 2022 at Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP), Lee County, Mississippi

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. 

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Otterstrom, Kevin

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi

Shimkus Aviation LLC


Location: Tupelo, Mississippi
Accident Number: CEN22LA407
Date and Time: September 5, 2022, 17:05 Local
Registration: N7835R
Aircraft: Beech 36 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N7835R
Model/Series: 36 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Tupelo , MS (KTUP)
Destination: Tupelo, MS

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.269,-88.7698 (est)

Aircraft landed gear up. 

Date: 05-SEP-22
Time: 22:05:00Z
Regis#: N7835R
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 36
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: TUPELO
State: MISSISSIPPI







TUPELO, Mississippi • Emergency crews responded to a plane crash at the Tupelo Regional Airport on Monday evening.

According to Tupelo Police spokesman Major Charles "Chuck" McDougald, preliminary information is that a small plane "ran off a runway or taxiway." There were no injuries reported.

Fire Chief Kelly Elliot said the plane was landing when it crashed.

"Appears the guy may have forgot to put his landing gear down. He is appears to be OK but is getting checked out," Elliot said.

Emergency crews could be seen spraying the plane at approximately 5 p.m.

According to FAA registration information, the plane is a Beech 36 Bonanza owned by Shimkus Aviation, LLC, out of Leland. Wayne Anthony Shimkus and Keron Jean Shimkus are listed as the owners of the aviation company. As of 6 p.m. Monday night, the pilot's name had not been made public.

The incident comes two days after a Shannon man stole a plane from the airport and threatened to crash it into the West Main Street Walmart. After four-and-a-half hours, the suspect, Cory Patterson, crash landed the plane in a field in rural Tippah County. No one was injured in the incident.

Patterson faces state charges of grand larceny and making terrorist threats. The FBI is considering federal charges. A judge denied bond for Patterson on Sunday.

Ryan Navion A, N4913K: Incident occurred August 31, 2022 at Plum Island Airport (2B2), Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

Aircraft landed and gear collapsed. 


Date: 31-AUG-22
Time: 15:15:00Z
Regis#: N4913K
Aircraft Make: RYAN
Aircraft Model: NAVION A
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: NEWBURYPORT
State: MASSACHUSETTS





NEWBURYPORT, Massachusetts  - A small plane crashed in Newburyport Wednesday morning.

The fire department said Ryan Navion A plane made a "hard landing" at Plum Island Airport. SkyEye could see the plane stuck nose down in the ground.

The FAA said the aircraft gear collapsed after landing at about 11:15 a.m. The pilot, who was the only one on board, refused medical treatment, the fire department said.

Runway 10/28 at the airport was closed Wednesday until the plane could be removed. 

Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, N236PR: Incident occurred August 31, 2022 at Chatham Municipal Airport (KCQX), Barnstable County, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

Aircraft landed and veered off runway striking a taxiway light. 

Connecticut Flyers Inc


Date: 31-AUG-22
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N236PR
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: CHATHAM
State: MASSACHUSETTS

RotorWay JetExec, N162NH: Fatal accident occurred September 04, 2022 in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Boggs, Daniel

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Sean Smith; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky

Location: Mammoth Cave, Kentuky
Accident Number: ERA22FA397
Date and Time: September 3, 2022, 17:40 Local
Registration: N162NH
Aircraft: HISSERICH NICHOLAS S JETEXEC
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On September 3, 2022, about 1740 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur built Rotorcraft JetExec helicopter, N162NH, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Arthur, Kentucky. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The helicopter was recently purchased in St. Louis, Missouri by the owner, who asked a friend to fly it on a multi-leg flight to Knoxville, Tennessee, where it would be based. The third leg of the trip was intended to depart Sturgis Municipal Airport (TWT), Sturgis, Kentucky, for Glasgow Municipal Airport (GLW), Glasgow, Kentucky. Several witnesses at TWT stated that they were aware of “stormy” weather in the surrounding area, and they tried to convince the pilot to wait a day or two for the weather to improve. The pilot did not want to wait and departed for GLW with his wife. About 30 minutes later, the pilot returned to the departure airport, dropped off his wife and subsequently departed again. The pilot’s wife flew home in a private airplane and when her husband did not arrive later that evening, she reported him missing. The wreckage was subsequently located in the Mammoth Cave National State Park on September 5th.

The accident site was located in heavily wooded, steep terrain. The airframe came to rest on its left side oriented on a heading of about 45° magnetic. The cabin, instrument panel, seats, and engine compartment were all fractured in several pieces. The tail boom remained attached to the fuselage but was heavy damaged from impact forces. The tail rotor was wedged between two trees and both tail rotor blades were fractured off and located near the front of the helicopter. The engine was impact separated from the gearbox. The engine exhibited evidence of tortional twisting. The engine rotated freely. The main rotor gearbox rotated freely. A borescope was used to inspect the combustion and turbine blades.

No anomalies were noted with the engine.

The helicopter was recovered and retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: HISSERICH NICHOLAS S 
Registration: N162NH
Model/Series: JETEXEC 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
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: KGLW, 716 ft msl
Observation Time: 17:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C /22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 280°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 9000 ft AGL
Visibility: 7 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Sturgis, KY (TWT) 
Destination: Glasgow, KY (GLW)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 37.175949,-86.15031 (est)

Rotorcraft crashed under unknown circumstances in a wooded area.

Date: 04-SEP-22
Time: 02:07:00Z
Regis#: N162NH
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: JETEXEC
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: ARTHUR
State: KENTUCKY

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


 David Stone
~


UPDATE: 3:25 p.m.

On Monday afternoon, first responders said the helicopter was located and family was being notified. No other details were immediately provided.

"Please keep the family and all involved in your prayers," Glasgow/Barren County Emergency Management said in a Facebook post.

ORIGINAL STORY

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, KY (WSIL) -- Emergency management officials in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, are asking residents to check their property for a crashed or landed helicopter and its pilot. 

Glasgow\Barren County Emergency Management Deputy Director Marcus Thurman said contact has been lost with a small executive helicopter that was flying through the area over the weekend.

The pilot, David Stone, took off from Coeur Airport in St. Louis, Missouri around Noon Saturday. He stopped in Sparta, Illinois and called his wife and reported no issues. He said he was headed to Glasgow, Kentucky, to fuel again before heading to Knoxville, Tennessee. That was the last contact anyone has had with Stone. 

A ping of the iPad that was with Stone was requested. The last known pinged location was near the Warren/Edmonson County line near Chalybeate. No contact has been made as of 12:48 p.m. Monday.

Hunters saw the helicopter and said it was flying southeasterly, so emergency officials in Muhlenberg County and surrounding areas are asking residents to check their property for a crashed or landed helicopter and Mr. Stone. 

Anyone who finds helicopter wreckage or a landed helicopter on your property is asked to contact local law enforcement. You are asked not to tamper with anything, just provide aid to Mr. Stone. 

Missing person
David Stone
White male
5'7 155 lbs
Clean shaven
Military veteran
Missing aircraft
Blue JetExec
Tail # N162NH

Rutan VariEze, N10EZ: Fatal accident occurred September 05, 2022 near Columbia Airport (O22), Tuolumne County, California

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

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances while landing. 

Time: 18:31:00Z
Regis#: N10EZ
Aircraft Make: RUTAN
Aircraft Model: VARI EZE
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: COLUMBIA
State: CALIFORNIA

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

Ken Lancaster
~


A Cal Fire tanker pilot is dead after an off-duty plane crash Monday afternoon near the Columbia Airport in Tuolomne County.

It's a heartbreaking loss for the Calfire community. And plane crash landing just behind a home. People who live here believe this pilot made every effort to avoid hitting homes.

Cal Fire air Tanker Pilot Ken Lancaster was killed in an off-duty small plane crash close to the Columbia Airport. He flew tankers in and out of fighting wildfires across Northern California

Sheriff's deputies are watching over the crash site of Lancaster's private single-engine plane. The wreckage was out of view in the backyard of a nearby home. No one was inside at the time of the crash.

"Well, first of all, my heart goes out to his family and relatives," said nearby resident Johnny Etheridge. 

Ethridge lives down the street and says planes flying overhead as they come in for landings at Columbia Airport are common. 

"If you go just south, probably less than a mile, is the approach to the airport," he said. So we're very close."

Flight Aware data shows a plane matching the description of Lancaster's was returning to the airport after a one-hour flight.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

"Whatever effort he made to avoid the house, he didn't land that far behind this lady's house -- kind of over in the rocks there so it could have taken other people's lives," said Ethridge.

Losing his own life in a plane crash..his final act..may have been seeking to save the lives of others.

The wreckage is still behind the house in a spot that will make removal difficult. The NTSB and FAA will be continuing their investigation.

de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter, N725TH: Fatal accident occurred September 04, 2022 in Freeland, 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. 

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Brazy, Douglass

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Matt Rigsby; Accident Investigation and Prevention (AVP); Washington, District of Columbia 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Seattle, Washington

Northwest Seaplanes Inc

Friday Harbor Seaplane Tours


Location: Freeland, Washington 
Accident Number: DCA22MA193
Date and Time: September 4, 2022, 15:09 Local
Registration: N725TH
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-3 
Injuries: 10 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Scheduled

On September 4, 2022, at 1509 Pacific daylight time, a de Havilland DHC-3, N725TH, was substantially damaged when it impacted Mutiny Bay near Freeland, Washington, and sank. The pilot and 9 passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 scheduled flight. The US Coast Guard and good Samaritans responded to the accident site.

The accident occurred during the pilot’s second trip of the day; each trip involved multiple flight legs. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tracking data revealed that the accident flight departed from Friday Harbor Seaplane Base (W33), Friday Harbor, Washington, about 1450 with a destination of Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), Renton, Washington. The track data indicated the airplane flew a southerly heading before turning south-southeast. The en route altitude was between 650 and 975 ft above mean sea level (msl), and the groundspeed was between 115 and 125 knots. At 1508:43 the altitude increased to 1,125 ft, and the groundspeed reduced to 109 knots. At 1508:49, the altitude decreased to 875 ft and the groundspeed reduced to 100 knots. The tracking data ended at 1508:51, at an altitude of 700 ft and groundspeed of 55 knots. 

Witnesses near the accident site reported that the airplane was in level flight before it entered a slight climb, then pitched down in a near-vertical descent. The airplane continued in a nose-low, near-vertical descent until it impacted water in Mutiny Bay. Several witnesses described the airplane as “spinning,” “rotating,” or “spiraling” during portions of the steep descent. One witness reported hearing the engine/propeller noise and noted that he did not hear any “pitch change” in the noise.

The pilot began working for the operator in 2013 and was one of two pilots who flew the DHC3, which he began flying in 2017. He had accrued a total of 4,686 flight hours as of May 31, 2022. His total flight hours in the DHC-3 have not yet been determined. He received training in emergency drills and procedures in May 2022, and an aircraft competency check in June 2021.

The airplane’s most recent 100-hour inspection was performed on September 1, 2022. Included at that time were recurring inspections required by Airworthiness Directives (AD) 83-04-05 (control column lower assembly) and 2011-18-11 (elevator control tabs). A left-hand rudder retract cable was replaced during the 100-hour inspection. The previous 100-hr inspection was performed on August 16, 2022, which also included the recurring AD inspections noted above. At that time, the horizontal stabilizer hinge bolts, a right-hand engine ignitor, and a left-hand float locker latch were replaced. 

The airplane was not equipped nor was it required to be equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder. A King 560 Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System was installed, which can retain some parametric flight data; however, the unit was not crash-protected. Some floating debris was recovered by local authorities and good Samaritans who responded to the accident site. This included three 6-ft sections of aluminum honeycomb panels used for flooring in the airplane, a seat cushion and seat belt, and small sections of foam, consistent with a modification made to the landing floats.

The NTSB structure’s group chairman went on board vessels provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Washington to collect data using varying types of sonar equipment. 

A sonar survey of the accident area located the main wreckage and debris field at a depth of about 190 ft.

At 1515, the automated weather observing station at Jefferson County International Airport (0S9), located 10 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, reported wind from 310° at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 4,000 ft and 7,500 ft, broken clouds at 9,000 ft, temperature 20°C, dew point 14°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury.

Additionally, pilots flying in the vicinity of the accident area reported turbulence and a scattered cloud layer at 2,300 ft.

The US Navy will be assisting the NTSB with the wreckage recovery, and examination will begin once the wreckage is recovered.


Douglass Brazy, Investigator In Charge, onboard NOAA S3006 survey boat.





Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: DEHAVILLAND 
Registration: N725TH
Model/Series: DHC-3 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter air carrier (135)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K0S9
Observation Time: 15:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C /14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 310°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 9000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Friday Harbor, WA (W33)
Destination: Renton, WA (RNT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 9 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 10 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 47.99032,-122.58502

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


Jason Winters


According to the GoFundMe, setup by a fellow employee at Northwest Seaplanes, Jason Winters was a loving father and husband.



Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances into Mutiny Bay, Whidbey Island, Washington

Date: 04-SEP-22
Time: 22:09:00Z
Regis#: N725TH
Aircraft Make: DEHAVILLAND
Aircraft Model: DHC-3
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 10
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Pax: 9 Fatal
Activity: ON DEMAND
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: WEST ISLE AIR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
City: WHIDBEY ISLAND
State: WASHINGTON

Wreckage of  de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter, N725TH, that crashed into Washington's Mutiny Bay.
Applied Physics Laboratory - University of Washington
~


The wreckage of a floatplane that crashed into the waters of Washington state's Puget Sound last week has been found on the seafloor, The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

Ten people - including a married couple from Minnesota - were on the Sunday flight from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to the Seattle suburb of Renton when it crashed on September 4. 

The NTSB said the depth and motion of the water hid the wreckage for several days, The Seattle Times reported.

Sonar located a "large section" similar in length and width to the plane about 190 feet below the surface of Puget Sound near Whidbey Island, according to spokesperson Jennifer Gabris.

Investigators, the National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory scoured a 1.75-by-0.75-mile area where witnesses said the plane had crashed.

Because of the depth and 3-5 knot currents, the NTSB is seeking a remotely operated vehicle to recover the wreckage. The NTSB had said that crash details, including the cause of the crash, couldn't be determined until more of the wreckage was found.

A family member confirmed that Luke Ludwig, 42, and his wife, Rebecca Ludwig, 42, were among those presumed dead in the plane crash. The married couple with kids lived in Excelsior; their kids are safe and with other family.

The only body that has been found was identified last week as Gabby Hanna of Seattle.


 Kathe Baker, her husband, son and grandchildren pose with Friday Harbor Seaplanes pilot Jason Winters in this DHC-3 Otter on Saturday, a day before another flight Winters piloted went down off Whidbey Island.

In the foreground, a 6-passenger DHC-2 Beaver waits at the Friday Harbor Seaplanes base at the south end of Lake Washington in Renton. The seaplane that crashed off Whidbey Island was the company’s lone DHC-3 Otter, a larger model that carries 10 passengers.


 The Friday Harbor Marina is a popular destination for Seattle-based floatplanes. The plane that crashed Sunday with 10 passengers and one pilot aboard taken off from Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, headed for Renton, on Lake Washington. 

A sign advertises Friday Harbor Seaplanes at the Port of Friday Harbor Marina on Monday, the day after one of the company’s flights crashed into Puget Sound off Whidbey Island. 


 Seaplanes have been part of aviation culture in the Pacific Northwest since Boeing started building them on Lake Union a century ago. Here, seaplanes sit on the tarmac at Northwest Seaplanes at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton. In the background are Boeing 737s manufactured at Boeing’s Renton plant. 




Seaplanes are a Seattle icon. Their pilots are mystified by tragic crash

Last Sunday’s fatal crash of a seaplane off Whidbey Island stunned and mystified the region’s aviation community, for whom sturdy de Havilland floatplanes have been a routine yet thrilling part of life here.

Seaplanes have been part of Seattle’s fabric since Boeing’s first plane took off from Lake Union in 1916. Today they provide regular commuter and tour service throughout the Pacific Northwest from Seattle to the San Juan Islands, Alaska and British Columbia.

Ten people died in Sunday’s fatal flight. Its trajectory — a normal takeoff and climb with no significant weather and about 18 minutes of routine flying before a sudden, steep plunge into the sea without a distress call — is, for now, unexplained and deeply disturbing.

Colleen Mondor, an author who specializes in investigating air accidents in Alaska involving similar aircraft, said this flight pattern before such a disastrous end is very strange.

“That sure sounds like a stall,” Mondor said. “It’s weird to be 18 minutes into a flight and all of a sudden to exhibit that kind of behavior with the aircraft.”

The plane was a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter turboprop operated by Renton-based Friday Harbor Seaplanes.

Though this aircraft type has suffered a rash of accidents in Alaska over seven decades of service, those have almost exclusively been tied to poor pilot decisions in rough terrain and bad weather. The aircraft is considered safe.

“They’re older. But they’re really good airplanes,” Mondor said. “They’ve flown for a long time for good reason. They don’t fall out of the sky.”

Jay Todhunter, chief pilot with Kenmore Air, which runs a much bigger floatplane operation than Friday Harbor Seaplanes, described the Otter as “a great airplane to fly.”

“We all love it. It’s perfect for what we use it for. It’s a fairly tame airplane, for the most part easy to fly,” he said.

Todhunter said pilots at the two companies know each other. He had occasionally shared casual conversations on the dock at Friday Harbor with Jason Winters, the pilot on Sunday’s fatal flight.

“There’s kind of a community within the pilot group here,” Todhunter said. “It’s a tragedy and it’s in all of our thoughts right now.”

An icon of Pacific Northwest aviation

Seattle seaplane flights typically delight first-time flyers as they look with fresh eyes from the air at the region’s breathtaking scenery of mountains, lakes and ocean.

Kenmore Air flies out of both Lake Union and a seaplane base at Kenmore on the north end of Lake Washington. Vancouver, B.C.-based Harbor Air and charter company Seattle Seaplanes also fly in and out of Lake Union, while Friday Harbor Seaplanes operates out of a base at the southern tip of Lake Washington in Renton.

These commuter and tourist seaplanes are permitted to fly only in daytime, clear weather conditions. They cannot take off unless the cloud ceiling is above 1,000 feet with visibility of at least two miles ahead. Fog means canceled flights. Winter flying is limited.

The most popular destinations include Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, Victoria, Vancouver and Desolation Sound in the northern reach of the Georgia Strait.

Many of the flyers are island residents commuting to Seattle and destinations beyond.

In addition, air charter company Seattle Scenics offers seaplane tour flights from Lake Washington at Renton and Kirkland. And there are thousands of takeoffs and landings performed by private noncommercial floatplanes in this region each month.

It’s not all tourists and commuters on these flights. The floatplanes ferry professionals of every description to and from the islands, including whale biologists, doctors, architects, attorneys, boat technicians and IT specialists.

The planes routinely transport perishable food to island restaurants and, when the ferries are down, essential supplies.

The more than 100-year history of floatplanes here has a grip on those in the business. Once flying catches the imagination, it tends to be passed along through generations.

Todd Banks, president of Kenmore Air, has been in the aviation business 31 years. His grandfather, Bob Munro, started operating seaplanes on Lake Washington and Lake Union in 1946.

“Seaplanes are vital part of the transportation system in the Northwest ... to access some of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Banks. “It’s been a privilege to be part of it.”

The DHC-3 Otter, seating 10 passengers, is an aging workhorse of this system. It was first built in the 1950s and a total of 466 were produced through 1967. Almost all those flying today have been updated from piston to more powerful turbine engines.

The Otter is a familiar sight even to Seattleites who’ve never flown in it. Kenmore uses it, along with a smaller six-passenger model called the DHC-2 Beaver, on the scenic flights that take off from Lake Union and top the downtown skyscrapers as they fly out.

Weighing in just below the 12,500 pound threshold above which regulations require a crew of two in the cockpit, it’s one of the largest airplanes that can be flown by a single pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration aircraft registry shows Northwest Seaplanes, the parent company of Friday Harbor Seaplanes, with just a single DHC-3 Otter in its fleet — the one that crashed — along with four DHC-2 Beavers.

Kenmore Air has a current floatplane fleet of 10 Otters and seven Beavers.

The air navigation site used by pilots shows an average of 119 seaplane landings or takeoffs per day from Kenmore’s Lake Union base and 118 per day at its Lake Washington base in 2019. About a fifth of those are private seaplane operations without commercial passengers.

The same site shows the Lake Washington seaplane base at Renton used by Friday Harbor Seaplanes averaged 46 takeoffs or landings per week in 2020, a down year due to the pandemic.

Bulk of previous accidents occurred in wilderness

The Otter’s ability to take off in a short stretch and climb fast, which makes it ideal for Lake Union, also means it’s “one of the finest bush planes ever built,” said David Gudgel, Kenmore’s chief operating officer, referring to planes that can land and take off in the wilderness of Alaska.

There, the plane is used by multiple small operators for adventurous operations that have accounted for the bulk of Otter accidents.

“They’re landing in rivers and lakes and flying through mountains,” said Gudgel. “A lot of those (crashes) I think you’ll find are pilot error.”

The Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives compiled a comprehensive database stretching back 54 years to 1963 that shows 52 fatal DHC-3 Otter crashes, including Sunday’s.

Of those, 21 were military aircraft. The U.S. Army lost a few in Vietnam. Another eight were wheeled versions for land use or equipped with skis for snow landings. Of the 23 fatal civil floatplane accidents listed, 19 were in North America and caused 70 deaths.

The cause in many cases was attributed to the pilot making a choice to fly in bad weather. A few other accidents were caused by the pilot failing to balance the load in the cargo bay before takeoff, shifting the plane’s center of gravity.

Mondor said the vast majority of these Alaska backcountry accidents have been “very specific to pilot decision-making concerning load or weather decisions and not about the airplane.”

These accidents occurred in an environment much more hostile than the scheduled and charter commuter services operated out of Seattle.

“We don’t deal with the terrain and the weather that they deal with up there. It’s a lot different,” said Kenmore’s Todhunter.

The Swiss database shows no previous accidents for Friday Harbor Seaplanes or its parent company, Northwest Seaplanes.

Kenmore has suffered one fatal crash, in October 1977, when seven people died flying over Stevens Pass in a DHC-2 Beaver. The investigation report found the pilot hadn’t balanced the aircraft’s load and made “improper in-flight decisions,” flying too low.

In the ensuing 45 years, Kenmore has had no fatalities.

The analysis of previous DHC-3 Otter accidents leaves Sunday’s crash mystifying.

The flight path was straightforward. The pilot was experienced.

Though it was a little windy, there was nothing troubling in the weather.

Chuck Perry, who has been a pilot for more than 36 years and was Kenmore’s chief pilot before Todhunter, said the Otter is a heavy, stable airplane in high wind.

The plane was full Sunday, but if the load had been unbalanced that should have been clear on takeoff.

In addition to examining the wreckage once it is retrieved, investigators will look at the plane’s maintenance records, searching for any possible mechanical anomaly.

Northwest Seaplanes deferred questions to National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

A stressful time

The entire aviation community has been through a financial crisis that forced layoffs during the pandemic-driven air travel downturn. That has stressed airplane operations everywhere, from Boeing to major airlines to aircraft repair and overhaul shops.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which provides data on scheduled passenger services, though not similar figures for charter flights, shows that Friday Harbor Seaplanes carried nearly 3,400 passengers in pre-COVID 2019 but just half that number in 2020.

However the business rebounded in 2021, with more than 5,500 passengers carried.

Kenmore’s Banks said that in this “very small, niche part of aviation” he knows fairly well Shane Carlson, who runs Northwest Seaplanes, founded by his dad, Clyde Carlson.

“They do a good job,” Banks said of his smaller competitor.

He texted Shane on Sunday after the accident to express condolences.

“It’s a tragedy,” Banks said. “It’s just a hard time for us right now.”

Banks said he understands if people are now afraid to fly on a seaplane. This week, one customer canceled a charter flight with Kenmore.

“We are more than happy to give people refunds, or whatever they want to do, if they’re feeling anxious about it,” Banks said.

Todhunter, who spoke Tuesday before he took off on a sightseeing flight, said he remains “very confident in what we do.”

“I don’t know what happened in this accident, I don’t know why it happened,” he said. “But I feel very good about the way we do things. We like to play it safe.”

Perry, his predecessor as chief pilot, said, “I just really hope that they can get that airplane out of the water, because it’ll tell the story.”

“That’s going to be all-important to figuring out what happened,” he said.



Jason Winters had been flying since 1995 and with Northwest Seaplanes since 2013.

Tom Chapman from the National Transportation Safety Board addresses the media in Mukilteo, Snohomish County, Washington.







U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 09/06/2022 09:00 AM EDT

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest
Contact: 13th District Public Affairs
Office: (206) 220-7237
After Hours: (206) 220-7237
13th District online newsroom

Coast Guard releases names of passengers, crew of crashed seaplane

SEATTLE -- The Coast Guard is releasing the names of the passengers and crew of the sea plane that crashed into the waters of Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island on Sunday afternoon.

Pilot: Jason Winter

Passengers: 

Patricia Hicks
Sandra Williams
Lauren Hilty
Remy Mickel (minor)
Ross Mickel
Luke Ludwig
Rebecca Ludwig
Joanne Mera
Gabrielle Hanna

The deceased individual recovered from the water on Sunday night was transferred to the Island County coroner and has not yet been positively identified. It is Coast Guard policy not to release the names of the deceased or missing until at least 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified. 

“The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who lost a loved one in this tragedy,” said Cmdr. Xochitl CastaƱeda, the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for this incident. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the accident. 

-USCG-