Preliminary reports provide no cause for November plane crashes

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An Instagram photo from Kate Leese and Adam Kendall showing a previous flight to Beaver Island.
An Instagram photo from Kate Leese and Adam Kendall showing a previous flight to Beaver Island.

GAYLORD — The National Transportation Safety Board has released preliminary reports on two airplane crashes in Northern Michigan in November that killed six people and left one seriously injured.

The safety board (NTSB) reports did not provide specific causes for the crashes. NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Gabris said a final report from the agency takes between 12 to 24 months to complete and will include an analysis and probable cause.

On Nov. 13, a a twin-engined Britton-Norman commuter plane operated by Island Airways departed the Charlevoix Municipal Airport with the pilot, William Julian, and four passengers on-board.

The other passengers were Gaylord Realtor Mike Perdue, his 11-year-old daughter Laney, new-to-the-island residents 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 and has since returned home from the hospital.

After departing Charlevoix, the airplane turned north and proceeded toward Welke Airport on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. According to the report, the en-route portion of the flight was conducted about 1,500 feet above sea level and the airplane remained at this altitude until it was about 3 nautical miles from Welke. At this point, the airplane began descending and was headed toward runway 35.

Broadcast data from the plane ended approximately .24 nautical miles south of the crash site and impact occurred about 300 yards after the broadcast signal went out, the report said.

Separately, two people were killed in a plane crash near Boyne City on Nov. 15. Killed in that crash were pilot Kenneth Daniel Yott, 61, of Pontiac, and his passenger Corbin Dennis Kennedy, 21, of Howell. They were flying to the Boyne City Municipal Airport when their Beechcraft E-90 airplane plowed into a wooded area west of Romanik Road in Melrose Township.

While on its final approach, the airplane’s groundspeed gradually slowed from 129 to 88 knots over a period of one minute and the last recorded location showed the airplane was 3.3 nautical miles east of the Runway 27 threshold, about 800 feet above ground level, slightly left of the approach course. The airplane subsequently hit the ground about 600 feet west of the last recorded location. Broken tree limbs indicated the airplane was in a steep descent while on a west heading.

Two witnesses about a quarter of a mile from the accident site heard the plane fly overhead, followed by a loud thud. The witnesses observed very heavy sleet with low visibility conditions for about 10 minutes, before and after the accident time.

An initial examination revealed the entire plane was present at the accident site and no anomalies were noted with the airplane’s flight controls that would have precluded normal operation.

The Boyne City report was released on Dec. 1 while the Beaver Island report was released on Dec. 2.

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Preliminary reports provide no cause for November plane crashes