Pilot: The plane was losing power when it crashed at Hana | News, Sports, Jobs

The pilot of this light-sport aircraft thought its engine was “not producing rated power” as it stopped climbing and descended in an area of ​​tree-covered terrain near Hana Airport on January 15. MAUI FIRE DEPARTMENT picture

The pilot of a light-sport plane that crashed near Hana Airport in January said he believed the plane’s engine “did not make rated power” as it descended into an area of ​​tree-covered terrain, according to a recently released report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

In the January 15 accident, the pilot was seriously injured and the passenger qualified as the pilot was slightly injured, according to the preliminary accident report. Firefighters reported that the two victims were Maui men, ages 61 and 70. One man was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center by medical evacuation and the other by land ambulance.

According to the report, the pilot was flying the Flight Design CTLS light sport aircraft, tail number N992SA, on a personal flight. After making four touchdowns at Hana Airport, the duo opted to take a short break before heading back to Kahului Airport. Once their break was over, they departed for the return flight to Kahului.

The pilot said that just after takeoff from Runway 26, as the aircraft climbed to approximately 75 feet above ground level, the aircraft stopped climbing and then descended into an area of ​​wooded terrain.

“As the aircraft descended through the trees, it nosed over and struck the ground in a nose-down attitude, just past the departure end of the runway,” says the report.

A light sport plane is pictured before it crashed near Hana Airport on January 15. Photo by EDWARD HART

The plane crashed at around 9:55 a.m. Emergency crews were alerted at 9:57 a.m. and Engine 7 at Hana located the crash site in thick foliage about 100 yards to the west from the Hana Airport runway, according to the Maui Fire Department. One victim was able to walk away from the wreckage. The Hana fire crew used vehicle extraction equipment to free the second victim from being trapped on the plane, fire officials said.

The report says the pilot said there was no outward indication of a mechanical fault, but he believed the engine was not producing rated power.

According to the report, several pilot-qualified witnesses reported that they heard no unusual sounds and that the engine appeared to be running normally.

Edward Hart of Makawao, the plane’s owner, said Wednesday he was not on the flight, but “I’m glad everyone survived and people were fine.”

He said his plane, which the report said sustained extensive fuselage and wing damage, is not salvageable.

The interior of the light-sport plane that crashed near Hana Airport is shown. Its owner, Edward Hart, said he had some of the same electronics as the big jets. EDWARD HARTPicture

The aircraft was equipped with a Rotax 912ULS engine. A detailed review is underway, according to the report.

Hart added that the plane had a lot of electronics that a big jet would have. It also had an autopilot and a parachute system, but in this case the plane was not high enough off the ground to activate the parachute mechanism.

Hart called him a “very sophisticated little plane.”

“That’s what made him special” he said.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected]

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